Merry Christmas from Florida

Warm wishes from the beach here in Florida for a wonderful holiday and happy new year!

Driftwood Tree at Sebastian Beach

Sebastian Inlet State Park Beach Collage

Sebastian Beach Collage

We enjoy going to Sebastian Inlet State Park on Florida’s central Atlantic coast.  It is a spectacular place to visit!  The weather this winter has been especially beautiful.  We made this collage of our favorite scenes at the inlet (click on the picture to enlarge and see details).  Info and live cam links are available at:  https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/sebastian-inlet-state-park

Warm Florida Beaches

Sebastian Beach Waves

View of Sebastian Beach from Pier

Seagull with Mouthful of Fish

Sanderling Running with Waves

Shell Pile-up Near Pier

Brown Pelican Flying

Inlet Side Opposite Beach

Two-Tone Water where Indian River Meets Atlantic Ocean

Gopher Tortoise Eating Grass

The weather is perfect here in Florida!  Migrating birds have arrived, and it is a beautiful time for a walk at Sebastian Inlet State Park.

Florida’s Space Coast: Beaches OK after Hurricane Irma

Path to Sebastian Beach before Hurricane Irma

Sebastian Inlet Calm Waves Before the Storm

Shell Bits on Beach

Beach Morning Glory and Hamburger Bean

Bunches of Sea Grapes

Melbourne Beach Waves

Melbourne Beach Dune Erosion after Irma

I am very happy to say that our beautiful beaches here on Florida’s Space Coast still look great after Hurricane Irma!  We were all nervous staring down a Category 5 hurricane  – at times the projected track went right over our coastal area east of Orlando.  There certainly was damage in Brevard County, but nothing that can’t be fixed.  Our house itself is fine, although we do have an enormous amount of yard work to do.  It is such a luxury now to have use of power, water, internet, gas, and grocery stores – makes you appreciate what surrounds you every day.  It was also nice to see people helping one another.  All our animals and birds are back too.  Great to get back to normal!

Florida: Cocoa Beach in Summer

Summer Walk on Cocoa Beach

Morning Waves

Sanderling Running

Ghost Crab

Florida in summer is a land of ocean breezes, afternoon showers, and warm nights.  A walk on Cocoa Beach in the morning is perfect!

Warm Wishes from Florida

Sebastian Beach and Birds

Sebastian Beach and Birds

Birds in Surf

Birds in Surf

Pair of Willets

Pair of Willets

Trio of Sanderlings

Trio of Sanderlings

Shells on Sand

Shells on Sand

Shell Bits on Beach

Shell Bits on Beach

Our Photo on Sebastian Inlet Holiday Card 2015

Our Photo on Sebastian Inlet Holiday Card 2015

Our Photo on Sebastian Inlet Holiday Card 2016

Our Photo on Sebastian Inlet Holiday Card 2016

Warm wishes from Florida for a new year filled with peace, love, and happiness.

Florida: Faithful Beauty Moth

Faithful Beauty Moth (also known as the Uncle Sam Moth)

Faithful Beauty Moth (also known as the Uncle Sam Moth)

We saw the Faithful Beauty moth (also known as the Uncle Sam moth) for the first time only a couple of weeks ago at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida.  So pretty!  Its Latin name is Composia fidelissima, and it is more commonly seen in southern Florida.   You can tell it is a moth by its feathery antennae.  We are happy to get back to normal after a very close call here on Florida’s Atlantic Coast with Hurricane Matthew.

Florida: Dramatic Beach Sky

Dramatic Beach Sky

Dramatic Beach Sky

Here is a dramatic panorama of Sebastian Beach today in Florida – blue sky to the north, and storm coming from the south. 

Florida: Beautiful Beach Weather!

Waves at Sebastian Beach

Waves at Sebastian Beach

Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle

Manatee Snort

Manatee Snort

Spotted Ray

Spotted Ray

Snook Surrounded by Tiny Greenies

Snook Surrounded by Tiny Greenies

Needlefish

Needlefish

Orange Boring Sponge

Orange Boring Sponge

Sebastian Inlet Bridge

Sebastian Inlet Bridge

Beautiful Turquoise Water

Beautiful Turquoise Water

We make frequent trips to Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida, to walk out on the fishing pier and stroll on the beach.  The water is especially pretty right now, and there is always lots to see!  You can view a live cam at:  http://www.sebastianinletcam.com/

Florida: Gorgeous Beach Day!

Boardwalk to Beach

Boardwalk to Beach

Summer Day at Sebastian Beach

Summer Day at Sebastian Beach

Marked Sea Turtle Nest Sites

Marked Sea Turtle Nest Sites

Sea Turtle Nest Caution Sign

Sea Turtle Nest Caution Sign

Sea Turtle Nest Totals

Sea Turtle Nest Totals

Today was a gorgeous day at Sebastian Beach, Florida.  The weather and water are warm, and the sea turtles are busy nesting at night.  In fact as of today, the area has recorded the second highest count ever of documented sea turtle nests.  Scientists rope off the nest sites to keep the eggs safe until the turtles hatch.  Great time of year!

UPDATE:  Final sea turtle nesting totals at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge on August 27, 2016, are:  Loggerhead – 20,376; Green – 1,295; Leatherback – 72, and Kemp’s Ridley – 1.

Florida in Winter

Sebastian Beach Ocean Waves

Sebastian Beach Ocean Waves

Black Skimmers Sunbathe Flat on Sand

Black Skimmers Sunbathe Flat on Sand

White Ibis at Lagoon

White Ibis at Lagoon

Laughing Gull with Mouth Open

Laughing Gull with Mouth Open

Pink Spoonbill and Blue Water

Pink Spoonbill and Blue Water

Lesser Scaup at Backyard Pond

Lesser Scaup at Backyard Pond

Tricolor Heron with Purple Eyes

Tricolor Heron with Purple Eyes

Great Blue Heron with Windblown Feathers

Great Blue Heron with Windblown Feathers

Bald Eagle and Black Vultures Near Home

Bald Eagle and Black Vultures Near Home

Alligator in Pond

Alligator in Pond

Double Rainbow Over Backyard

Double Rainbow Over Backyard

In Florida we enjoy an outdoor lifestyle year round.  Although it may get chilly from time to time when winter cold fronts blow through from the north, the weather usually warms back up to 70°F within a few days.  That means we go outside and enjoy the beach, gardens, and wildlife. 

Florida is home to over 500 species of birds, which makes it one of the top birdwatching destinations in the world.  Our local birding and wildlife festival is the largest in the nation!  Info about the festival is at:  http://www.spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org/   Come on down and enjoy nature in the Sunshine State!  

Florida: Gorgeous Beach Weather in Fall

Beach Morning Glory Vines Covering Sand

Beach Morning Glory Vines Covering Sand

Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone

Sanderling

Sanderling

Ghost Crab and Shells

Ghost Crab and Shells

Juvenille Ghost Crab

Juvenille Ghost Crab

Moon Jelly over Acorn Barnacles

Moon Jelly over Acorn Barnacles

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

White Ibis

White Ibis

Wood Stork Portrait in Black and White

Wood Stork Portrait in Black and White

Fall weather is great in Florida for long walks at the beach.  We often visit Sebastian Inlet State Park.  The views all around are a constant delight!

Florida: Sebastian Beach and Fishing Jetty

Colorful Water at Sebastian Beach

Colorful Water at Sebastian Beach

Walking Out onto Sebastian Fishing Jetty

Walking Out onto Sebastian Fishing Jetty

Dark Area is School of Fantail Mullet Swimming Toward Jetty

Dark Area is School of Fantail Mullet Swimming Toward Jetty

Close-up of Fantail Mullet

Close-up of Fantail Mullet

Barracuda with Razor Sharp Teeth Swimming Along Jetty

Barracuda with Razor Sharp Teeth Swimming Along Jetty

Sea Turtle Head Above Water

Sea Turtle Head Above Water

Beautiful Pattern on Back of Sea Turtle Head

Beautiful Pattern on Back of Sea Turtle Head

Sanderlings Running Back and Forth with the Ocean Waves

Sanderlings Running Back and Forth with the Ocean Waves

Rare Frigatebird Sighting (notice red throat pouch)

Rare Frigatebird Sighting (notice red throat pouch)

Black Skimmer on Beach

Black Skimmer on Beach

Beach Morning Glory

Beach Morning Glory

We always enjoy visiting Sebastian Inlet State Park.  The beach is beautiful, and we never know what we’ll see from the fishing jetty.  More info is at: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Sebastian-Inlet

Fossil Seashells: Hidden Beauty

Florida Fossil Seashells Under Normal Light

Florida Fossil Seashells Under Normal Light

Fossil Seashells Under UV Light

Fossil Seashells Under UV Light

Similar Shells Today

Similar Shells Today

A recent scientific article describes how hidden patterns can be revealed by viewing fossilized seashells under UV light. I had to try this myself! I dug out our box of Florida fossils and looked at the chalky white seashells under a UV blacklight. Like magic – the patterns appeared! Nature is truly amazing. The detailed article on glowing shells is at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0120924.

Florida: Sea Glass and Ocean Gems Symposium

Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach

Boardwalk at Barrier Island Center

Boardwalk at Barrier Island Center

Entrance at Barrier Island Center

Entrance at Barrier Island Center

Signpost

Signpost

White Bowl of Sea Glass

White Bowl of Sea Glass

Blue Bowl of Sea Glass

Blue Bowl of Sea Glass

Red Bowl of Sea Glass

Red Bowl of Sea Glass

Sea Glass on Table

Sea Glass on Table

Old Auto Headlight Sea Glass Fragment

Old Auto Headlight Sea Glass Fragment

Our Recent Sea Glass Find (5 inches long)

Our Recent Sea Glass Find (5 inches long)

On Saturday we attended the First Sea Glass and Ocean Gems Symposium at the Barrier Island Center in Melbourne Beach, Florida.  The Center is located in the heart of Archie Carr Refuge, a major nesting site for sea turtles. The festival celebrated not only sea glass, but also sea life and all treasures found at the beach.   There were educational displays, along with arts and crafts on the back deck overlooking the ocean.  The sea glass displayed was collected on local beaches over the past 40 years – some of it washed in from ancient shipwrecks! More info about the Center is at: http://www.brevardfl.gov/EELProgram/Sanctuaries/BarrierIslandSanctuary/Home

Happy New Year from Florida!

Ring-Billed Gull

Ring-Billed Gull

Sebastian Beach, Florida

Sebastian Beach, Florida

Cannonball Jellyfish

Cannonball Jellyfish

Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone

Happy New Year!  Warm wishes for a year ahead filled with peace, beauty, and joy.

Florida: Let’s Have Fun!

Walking on Sebastian Beach

Walking on Sebastian Beach

Watching Terns and Skimmers Flying

Watching Terns and Skimmers Flying

Boating on the Indian River Lagoon

Boating on the Indian River Lagoon

Sitting on the Dock at Dusk

Sitting on the Dock at Dusk

Designing our Personal Postcard

Designing our Personal Postcard

♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫

Oh the weather is so delightful,

For Flo-ri-da we’re thankful.

Things to do, we can’t pick just one,

Let’s have fun, let’s have fun, let’s have fun.

♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♫

 

Florida: Port Canaveral and Jetty Park Beach

Back View of Iridescent "Sail" of Exploration Tower

Back View of Iridescent “Sail” of Exploration Tower

Exploration Tower Entrance

Exploration Tower Entrance

Top of Exploration Tower

Top of Exploration Tower

Exploration Tower at Sunset

Exploration Tower at Sunset

Color Wand Lit Path Around Tower

Color Wand Lit Path Around Tower

Exploration Tower at Night

Exploration Tower at Night

View of Port Canaveral from Top of Tower

View of Port Canaveral from Top of Tower

Recycled Art in Tower Atrium

Recycled Art in Tower Atrium

Recycled Glass Jellyfish in Atrium

Recycled Glass Jellyfish in Atrium

Recycled Glass Mobile

Recycled Glass Mobile

Ron Jon Surfboard Display in Tower

Ron Jon Surfboard Display in Tower

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Departure

Disney Dream Cruise Ship Departure

Jetty Park's Wide Sandy Beach

Jetty Park’s Wide Sandy Beach

Kitty Cat Drawing on Sand

Kitty Cat Drawing on Sand

Jetty Park's Long Fishing Pier

Jetty Park’s Long Fishing Pier

Sea Turtle by Fishing Pier

Sea Turtle by Fishing Pier

Dolphin Swimming by Pier

Dolphin Swimming by Pier

Seagull and Waves at Sunset

Seagull and Waves at Sunset

Seagulls Flying Overhead

Seagulls Flying Overhead

Vintage Poster of Jetty Park

Vintage Poster of Jetty Park

If you visit Central Florida, be sure to stop by Port Canaveral and Jetty Park near Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic Ocean. Exploration Tower acts as a Welcome Center for the area. The building opened in November 2013, and is meant to evoke the image of a sailing ship. The architecture is stunning, especially at night. From the tower’s 7th floor Observation Deck there is a bird’s eye view of Port Canaveral, Jetty Park, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and NASA to the north. It is an excellent place to view rocket launches (check schedule at: http://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/).  Info about visiting the tower is at:  http://www.explorationtower.com/.

A fun thing to do is to watch the cruise ships go out to sea. They exit the port past Jetty Park, with people waving and cheering all the way. Popular times to watch are Thursday and Sunday afternoons around 4 pm (a full schedule of departures and arrivals is at: https://www.portcanaveral.com/Cruise/Cruise-Lines-Schedules.  Port Canaveral was named America’s Best North American Cruise Port in 2015 by CruiseCritic.com.  The ship “Carla C” that inspired the TV show “The Love Boat” visited the Port in 1979.

Jetty Park’s wide sandy beach is especially nice for families. It is popular year round. If you walk onto the fishing pier, be sure to look for manatees, dolphins, and sea turtles in the water below. You’ll probably see egrets and pelicans “fishing” too. And don’t forget to bring bread to feed the seagulls – it is a family favorite. More info about visiting Port Canaveral is at: http://visitportcanaveral.com/.   Details about Jetty Park Beach and Campground are at:  https://www.portcanaveral.com/jpc  and  https://www.portcanaveral.com/Recreation/Jetty-Park-Beach-Pier

Florida: Colorful Giant Land Crabs

Overview of Colorful Land Crab

Overview of Colorful Land Crab

Side View Showing Blue Land Crab’s Giant Claw

Side View Showing Blue Land Crab’s Giant Claw

Female Land Crab Carrying Eggs

Female Land Crab Carrying Eggs

Five Land Crabs Walking

Five Land Crabs Walking

Group of Land Crabs Crossing Sandy Road

Group of Land Crabs Crossing Sandy Road

Side View of Colorful Land Crab

Side View of Colorful Land Crab

Very Colorful Land Crab

Very Colorful Land Crab

Blue Land Crab under Stump

Blue Land Crab under Stump

White Land Crab (probably female)

White Land Crab (probably female)

Two-Inch Long Juvenile Land Crab (claw almost as big as body)

Two-Inch Long Juvenile Land Crab (claw almost as big as body)

Very Young Land Crab (too small to pinch)

Very Young Land Crab (too small to pinch)

Summer and early Fall are the best time to see colorful giant land crabs in Florida. They live along the Atlantic coast from Central to Southern Florida, and are also found along the Gulf coast. We usually see them around the time of the full moon in August and September in the Sebastian/Vero Beach area. Giant blue land crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) like to live in wet sandy burrows, and need to be within 5 miles of the ocean to spawn. Only one in a million eggs survives to adulthood. The distinctive brown “fuzz” around the mouth parts of land crabs is actually a net-like pattern of hairs. It works in conjunction with the internal gills to help them “breathe” while on land. Both male and female adult land crabs have one claw bigger than the other.  The crabs can grow up to 6 inches across, and come in a variety of colors including blue, purple, red, orange, brown, and white.  More info about the life history of these fascinating crabs is at: http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/crustaceans/blue-crabs/life-cycle/

Florida: Manatee Love

Manatee Swimming Offshore Sebastian Beach

Manatee Swimming Offshore Sebastian Beach

Manatee Mating Herd in Shallow Water

Manatee Mating Herd in Shallow Water

Mating Manatees (3 males and 1 female)

Mating Manatees (3 males and 1 female)

Manatee Named "Barney"

Manatee Named “Barney”

Sebastian Inlet Bridge

Sebastian Inlet Bridge

In Florida, manatee mating activity peaks in spring and early summer. When wildlife societies receive calls about beached manatees this time of year, they explain that it is natural behavior and manatee love is in the air. A female manatee will usually be pursued by several males into shallow water, and that forms a mating herd.  Florida’s West Indian manatee is an endangered species, so it is a real privilege to witness such an event. Best of all, a baby manatee will arrive a year later! At Sebastian Inlet State Park today, we saw 8 manatees off the pier in the ocean, and a mating herd of 4 on the lagoon side.  A manatee named “Barney” swam beside the jetty (named by surfers for the barnacles on his skin). 

Florida Beach in Winter

Sebastian Beach Waves

Sebastian Beach Waves

Scotch Bonnet Shell

Scotch Bonnet Shell

Fishing Jetty

Fishing Jetty

Tidal Cove

Tidal Cove

9 Armed Sea Star

9 Armed Sea Star

Willet Eating a Crab

Willet Eating a Crab

Snowy Egret (notice the bright yellow feet)

Snowy Egret (notice the bright yellow feet)

Black Skimmers and Beach Sunflowers

Black Skimmers and Beach Sunflowers

Royal Terns (male displaying to unimpressed female on right)

Royal Terns (male displaying to unimpressed female on right)

Herring Gull Sleeping

Herring Gull Sleeping

Florida beaches are delightful in winter.  Occasionally a sweater is needed, but otherwise it is great weather for being outside and walking on the sand.  These pictures were taken at Sebastian Inlet State Park on Florida’s central Atlantic coast (east of Orlando).

Beautiful White Pelicans

White Pelican Swimming

White Pelican Swimming

White Pelican Wing Stretch

White Pelican Wing Stretch

White Pelican Pouch and Knob on  Bill

White Pelican Pouch and Knob on Bill

White Pelican Flying

White Pelican Flying

Flock of White Pelicans Soaring

Flock of White Pelicans Soaring

White pelicans are one of North America’s largest birds.  Their 9 foot wingspan is second only to the American Condor.  They are true snow birds – they spend winter along our southern coasts and head inland and north in summer.  During nesting season, they grow temporary knobs on their bills and have bright yellow around their eyes.  They feed by dipping their pouches into the water, and sometimes work together to corral and scoop up fish.  It is always a treat to see these magnificent birds!

Amazing Pelican Pouch

Brown Pelican Pouch Open

Brown Pelican Pouch Open

Brown Pelican Face On

Brown Pelican Face On

Brown Pelican Head Down

Brown Pelican Head Down

Brown Pelican Stretching

Brown Pelican Stretching

Brown Pelican Pouch Inside Out

Brown Pelican Pouch Inside Out

Brown Pelican Looking Left

Brown Pelican Looking Left

Brown Pelican's Expanded Pouch with Fish Inside

Brown Pelican’s Expanded Pouch with Fish Inside

Vintage Pelican Postcard

Vintage Pelican Postcard

Pelicans have incredible pouches.  The expandable pouches are used to scoop up food, and can hold up to 3 gallons of water and fish!  Brown pelicans are the only pelicans that are plunge divers.  They drop from the air with a big splash, and then scoop up the stunned fish.  We watched this funny brown pelican stretching at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida.  In the process, we got a great look at its amazing pouch.

Florida’s 500th Anniversary Celebration: El Galeon Tall Ship Tour

El Galeon at Port Canaveral

El Galeon at Port Canaveral

El Galeon: Front of Ship

El Galeon: Front of Ship

El Galeon: Wooden Deck

El Galeon: Wooden Deck

El Galeon: Wheel

El Galeon: Wheel

El Galeon: Bell

El Galeon: Bell

El Galeon: Admiralty Anchor

El Galeon: Admiralty Anchor

El Galeon: Cannon

El Galeon: Cannon

El Galeon: Crow's Nest Lookout

El Galeon: Crow’s Nest Lookout

First Official Map of Florida (1584). Note Cape Canaveral is already on map.

First Official Map of Florida (1584). Note Cape Canaveral is already on map.

El Galeon Sailing at Sea (from Visitor Movie)

El Galeon Sailing at Sea (from Visitor Movie)

This year 2013 marks the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s landing in Florida (“Land of Flowers”).  In celebration, a replica 16th century Spanish tall ship named El Galeon is stopping at ports along the state’s Atlantic coast.  It is on a path similar to that taken by the explorer.  The ship is currently at Port Canaveral from May 1-12, 2013.  It is a real beauty!  The ship is 170 feet long and weighs 495 tons.  The anchor alone weighs over one ton.  The ship has 6 decks, and 3 masts with 7 sails.  Most striking is the wood, which is found throughout the ship and is gorgeous in scale and detail.  Below deck are interpretive displays.  UPDATE:  This ship will be featured in the NBC TV show “Crossbones”, and will return to port in St. Augustine in 2015 to celebrate the city’s 450th birthday.  More info is at:  https://www.facebook.com/elgaleonandalucia/

Nellie the Dolphin’s 60th Birthday!

Vintage Postcard of Nellie's 20th Birthday Celebration

Vintage Postcard of Nellie’s 20th Birthday Celebration

Today is Nellie the Dolphin’s 60th birthday!  She was born at Marineland, Florida, on February 27, 1953, to mother Susie and father Happy.  She was famously in several television shows in the 1950’s and a Timex commercial in 1961.  In 1970 she became the mascot for Jacksonville University, and was awarded a master’s degree in marine science.  Nellie is doing very well and is loved by everyone who visits her.  The picture shows a vintage postcard from Nellie’s 20th birthday celebration.  Marineland’s birthday tribute to Nellie is at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTIAnCfaoC8

UPDATE:  Nellie passed away at the age of 61 on May 1, 2014.  The previous May (2013) Nellie was given an honorary Ph.D. in health science and longevity by Jacksonville University.

Florida: Birds at Sebastian Beach

Sebastian Beach:  Beautiful Blue Water

Sebastian Beach: Beautiful Blue Water

Adult Brown Pelican

Adult Brown Pelican

Young Brown Pelican

Young Brown Pelican

Wood Stork

Wood Stork

Black Skimmer and Royal Terns

Black Skimmer and Royal Terns

The beaches are perfect here in Florida in January.  The view is absolutely gorgeous, and the birdlife is amazing.  Come and visit to enjoy the warm sunshine!

Florida: Big Talbot Island Driftwood

Driftwood on Beach

Driftwood on Beach

Driftwood on Sand

Driftwood on Sand

Driftwood Logs

Driftwood Logs

Big Talbot Island State Park has the only beach in Florida that is covered in driftwood!  The wood comes from trees that have fallen from the eroded bluffs above the beach.  Over time the wood is polished by the sand and surf.  The bleached-out trunks have given rise to its popular name “Boneyard Beach”.   More info on this unique beach north of Jacksonville is at:  http://www.floridastateparks.org/bigtalbotisland/

Florida: Marineland

Marineland 1938 Sign

Marineland 1938 Sign

Vintage Dolphin Statue

Vintage Dolphin Statue

Vintage Dolphin Wall of Fudge Kitchen

Vintage Dolphin Wall of Fudge Kitchen

Vintage Neptune Statue

Vintage Neptune Statue

Vintage Photo:  Dolphin and Sunbonnet Lady

Vintage Photo: Dolphin and Sunbonnet Lady

Vintage Photo:  Dolphins and Songbook

Vintage Photo: Dolphins and Songbook

Vintage Marine Studios Sign

Vintage Marine Studios Sign

Three Dolphins Jumping

Three Dolphins Jumping

Marineland Entrance Sign

Marineland Entrance Sign

Marineland was one of Florida’s earliest tourist attractions.   It debuted in 1938 as the “World’s First Oceanarium” (south of St. Augustine).  The attraction’s original name was Marine Studios, because it catered to both tourists and film studios.  Movies and television shows filmed there include Tarzan, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Sea Hunt, and Benji (which featured the first scuba-diving dog). 

In 1951 Marineland was rated number one in Florida tourism.  I can’t help but smile when I look at those vintage photographs.  Marineland’s beloved dolphin Nellie was born there in 1953, and is now 59 years old.  She is one of the world’s oldest dolphins! 

Although the facility fell on hard times in the 1980s, the future looks much brighter now that it was bought by the premier Georgia Aquarium.  I especially like Marineland’s authentic feel.  Besides, where else can you feed a dolphin for $29?  More info is at:  http://www.marineland.net/index.html

UPDATE:  Nellie passed away at the age of 61 on May 1, 2014.  The previous May (2013) Nellie was given an honorary Ph.D. in health science and longevity by Jacksonville University.

Loggerhead Marinelife Center – Sea Turtle Hospital

Sea Turtle Hospital Mural

Sea Turtle Hospital Mural

Green Sea Turtle Patient in Hospital (doing well)

Green Sea Turtle Patient in Hospital (doing well)

Green Sea Turtle Patient in Personal Swimming Pen

Green Sea Turtle Patient in Personal Swimming Pen

Loggerhead Hatchling Patient and Sargassum Weed

Loggerhead Hatchling Patient and Sargassum Weed

Sea Turtle Hospital Quiet Sign

Sea Turtle Hospital Quiet Sign

Exhibit of Jupiter Inlet Near-Shore Coral Reef

Exhibit of Jupiter Inlet Near-Shore Coral Reef

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a sea turtle hospital, research facility, and education campus in Juno Beach, Florida.  Sick or injured sea turtles are brought to the center for veterinary care.  Turtles receive treatment and are rehabilitated for release.  Visitors are welcome to view the exhibits, watch veterinary care, and get a close-up view of current patients.  More info is at:  http://marinelife.org/

Florida: Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Brick Path

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Brick Path

Spiral Stairs

Spiral Stairs

Lens Room

Lens Room

Light Beacon Inside Fresnel Lens

Light Beacon Inside Fresnel Lens

Jupiter Inlet Ocean View

Jupiter Inlet Ocean View

Jupiter Inlet Bridge View

Jupiter Inlet Bridge View

Antique Postcard of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Antique Postcard of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse was first lit in 1860.  It was built to warn ships of the reefs offshore Jupiter, Florida.  The 108-foot tower sits on top of an ancient Indian shell mound.  The view from the top is quite scenic!  A live inlet beach webcam is at:  http://www.evsjupiter.com/main.htm

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