Saturday, February 11, 2012

John Pennekamp State Park

Our third night in the Florida Keys was spent at another state park, John Pannekamp Coral Reef State Park. We were so blessed to find another state park in the Keys to stay at. This particular state park is mostly underwater and daily boat trips for snorkeling and scuba diving adventures are part of the opportunities for visitors to the park.

There are also a couple of places closer to shore where you can go snorkeling and Blake took the chance to snorkel out to some sunken cannons that were located about 100 feet from the shore. This was his first time snorkeling outside of the swimming pool, so he was pretty pumped about the chance to see some ocean dwelling creatures, even though it was a bit of a rainy and cold day.

The weather also did not stop our boys from spending some time at the beach here. In fact they also put on their goggles and saw some fish. At our beach some ibis decided to swim with the boys! Not everyone can say they have swam with ibis!

The visitor's center at the park has a huge aquarium and several smaller aquarium that display some of the underwater life located in the nearby coral reef. No matter how many zoos and aquariums we visit, our guys always get super excited when we go to a new one and this aquarium was no exception. The unique and colorful fish really brought out the excited voices in our kids.

During our stay at the park I did a night-time run to a local eatery called The Fish House where we got some Conch Soup and Conch Fritters. Patsy and I enjoyed tasting some of the new-to-us foods! We are truly getting a taste our this huge country of ours.

Our review of John Pannekamp State Park.

Staff - 8 - Nice rangers and campground hosts.

Nearby attractions - 10 - Close to Miami and Key Largo.

Natural surroundings - 10 - Bushes and trees separate sites from each other. Ocean quite close.

Value - 9 - We paid $43 a night for a back-in gravel site with full hook-ups. Very cheap for the Florida Keys in winter.

Bathrooms - 8 - Modern and clean and plenty of them.

Roominess - 8 - Plenty of room for our rig, tow dolly and van.

Facility fun - 10 - Canoe and kayak rentals, nature trails, glass boat bottom tours, beaches, snorkeling, playground, aquarium, visitors center.

Cleanliness - 9 - Very clean and nice park.

Facility usefulness - 7 -  Dump, gated park, camp store, book exchange.

Overall - 10 - We loved this park!!

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