Weird Florida Facts

Bet you didn't know about these weird and interesting Florida facts

Landscape view of a jungle with a river in a natural environment
Pola Damonte via Getty Images / Getty Images

Florida is often in the news for stupid criminals and strange happenings, but there's plenty of unique facts that are unique to The Sunshine State. Here's a look at some of our favorites.

Tamiami Trail Marker
Dennis MacDonald, Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
  • The names of some of the approach procedures that all aircraft follow into their arrival at Orlando International Airport are named CWRLD ONE, COSTR ONE, PIGLT ONE, MINEE TWO and GOOFY FIVE. Any pilot that flies into there can confirm this.
  • Gatorade was named for the University of Florida Gators where it was first developed.
  • Flamingos get their pink color from the shrimp they eat. The more shrimp they eat the deeper pink they become.
  • There are 13,983,816 ways to combine six of those bouncing Florida lottery balls.
  • More than 100 episodes of Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges were filmed at Silver Springs between 1958 and 1961.
  • Do you think that mermaids are a myth? If so, you're wrong. They really do exist! See them perform in a unique underwater theater at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
  • A crypt in Key West is inscribed "I told you I was sick."
  • The Tamiami Trail is named for the two cities situated at each end of the highway — Tampa and Miami.
  • The Everglades National Park encompasses 2,100 square miles and contains the largest mangrove forest and the slowest moving river in the world.
  • Florida is not the southernmost state in the United States. Hawaii is farther south. Key West is the southernmost point in the "continental" United States.
  • Florida is the only state that has two rivers with the same name. There is a Withlacoochee in north central Florida (Madison County) and a Withlacoochee in central Florida. They have nothing in common except the name.
  • The actress, Delta Burke, represented Orlando and became Miss Florida in 1974.
  • Dick Pope, the founder of Cypress Gardens, is known as the "Father of Florida Tourism".
  • Stephen Foster, who wrote "Old Folks at Home," Florida's state song, never even saw the Suwannee River, nor did he ever step foot in Florida. You can learn more history about Stephen Foster in the museum that bears his name at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.
  • An average annual commercial harvest of Apalachicola Bay oysters produces enough meat to cover a football field three deep. That makes Apalachicola the perfect location for the Florida Seafood Festival held each November.
  • Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard is touted as the world's longest continuous sidewalk. It is a popular waterfront gathering place for joggers and in-line skate enthusiasts.
  • Once a year, thousands of Floridians stand at the state line and toss dead fish into Alabama. It's the annual Mullet Toss hosted by Flora-Bama Beach Bar in Pensacola. It's just "a silly excuse for a huge beach party."
  • The Seven Mile Bridge, part of the Overseas Highway, that crosses between Marathon and the Lower Keys, was built in 1982 – in pieces – then shipped to the Keys to be assembled.
  • There is a bed & breakfast, WildLife on Easy Street, on the outskirts of Tampa that allows you to cuddle with an endangered cat of your choice for just a $100 donation to the refuge. You can choose baby bobcats, cougars, and leopards.
  • Area code 321 has been in service since November 1, 1999, in Brevard County, Florida. The code refers to the countdown sequence 3-2-1 at Kennedy Space Center that launched many spacecraft and is a nod to Brevard County's important role in space travel.
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