What's new in the Florida Keys

What’s new in the Florida Keys

Monday, 16 Dec, 2022 0

This winter the Florida Keys continue to spotlight sustainability with coral restoration programs.

Resorts showcase their offerings to accommodate friends, family and small groups with added villa and stand-alone cottage-style units.

In 2023, heritage activities are planned to celebrate Monroe County’s 200th anniversary, focusing on the history and culture of the Keys and it’s place in Florida’s history.

“Florida Keys & Key West 200” events are to commemorate the Florida Legislature’s July 3, 1823, establishment of Monroe County as Florida’s sixth county.

In addition, Naval Air Station Key West is to celebrate its own bicentennial with the Southernmost Air Spectacular featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.


Keys Parks

At Everglades National Park, the all-new 24-unit Flamingo Lodge & Restaurant is slated to open in early 2023Under construction using modified shipping containers, the lodge offers 24 units with kitchenettes including studios and one- to two-bedroom suites fronting Florida Bay.

The park’s fully renovated pink Guy Bradley Visitor Center with interactive exhibits, a gift shop and expansive views overlooking Florida Bay also is scheduled to open in spring. Twenty furnished eco-tents offer glamping-style camping.

The park — the nation’s largest subtropical wilderness and the continental United States’ third-largest national park at 2,400 square miles — celebrated its 75th anniversary Dec. 3 in Monroe County’s Flamingo area, a 50-minute drive from the park’s South Florida entrance in Homestead. nps.gov/ever or flamingoeverglades.com/flamingo-lodge-restaurant .


Keys Attractions

In Key Largo, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s third land-based Keys coral nursery is now open for complimentary public tours for 12 participants. Tours are scheduled Fridays at 10 a.m. at Reefhouse Resort & Marina. Reservations can be made at mote.org/KeyLargo. Mote — raising brain, star and branching corals both onshore and offshore — outplants coral along the entirety of the Florida Keys reef tract. Key Largo efforts are focused on Carysfort, Grecian Rocks and French reefs.

A separate Mote satellite land-based coral nursery is located at Bud ‘N Mary’s Marina in Islamorada, with public tours available Tuesdays at 2 p.m. Reservations can be made at mote.org/Islamorada. At the Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral Reef Research & Restoration on Summerland Key, Mote offers public tours Tuesdays at 10 a.m. with required reservations. Visit mote.org


In Marathon, Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters  has a new exhibit with a Cassiopeia, or moon jellyfish, habitat located between the coral and predator reef tank viewing windows. Guided in-water experiences include a Coral Reef encounter where guests can snorkel or dive with over 2,000 fish and feed sharks or other predators through a window, Stingray Cove where guests get into the water to interact with stingrays, and a Big Shark Bay encounter where participants pet and feed an adult nurse shark.

A mangrove lagoon features 50 different species of local fish including tarpon, queen angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, goliath grouper and bonnethead sharks. Visit floridakeysaquariumencounters.com


In Marathon, the dog-friendly Salty Pup Adventures enables visitors to spend time on the water with their dogs (under 40 pounds) on a 27-foot catamaran-style vessel with Yamaha engines. The World Cat 270 SD offers spacious lounge seating at the bow, bench seating at the stern and is equipped with a large ladder for easy access to and from the water. Excursions include a two-hour sunset, four- and six-hour sandbar, four- and six-hour snorkel and sandbar, and six-hour island getaway tours from Marathon Sailfish Marina. Visit saltypupadventures.com


In Key West’s Truman Waterfront Park, the redesigned Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is open to the public Fridays and Saturdays. The state-of-the-art family-friendly facility offers contemporary new exhibits that highlight Florida Keys mangrove habitats and allow interaction with life-size mangrove branches. Visitors can “dive” into the Keys’ coral reef with immersive digital interactives, audio and tactile objects, and also explore maritime heritage.

The freestanding main exhibit focuses on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, while other exhibits include a colorful light-filled aquarium showcasing coral restoration, the shipwrecks of the Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail and an interactive paddleboard experience. Visit floridakeys.noaa.gov/eco_discovery.html


In Key West, Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe has opened a 1,600-square-foot store at 335 Duval St. that includes a full kitchen used for demonstrations. As well as signature Key lime pies, Kermit’s Key lime products include doggie treats, fresh juice, cookies, candy, sauces, and relish.

Learn more about :   Florida Keys & Key West ( N. America )  



Ray Monty

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