America’s First Undersea Park Turned 50

Only 3 1/2 hours from St Lucie find a true treasure..
 
America’s First Undersea Park Turned 50

Called the “crown jewel of the state park system,” divers, snorkelers and Keys visitors can thank the late Miami Herald editor John Pennekamp for helping to create the first undersea park in the United States, dedicated December 10, 1960.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park recently celebrated its 50th anniversary on Dec. 10, 2010. Noted divers descended on the iconic underwater Christ of the Abyss statue to place a commemorative garland to mark the milestone of America’s first underwater preserve, including famed oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Pat Wells, manager of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and Billy Causey, regional director for NOAA’s national marine sanctuaries.

“It’s the oldest underwater park, not just in Florida, not just in the U.S., but it set a precedent for the world,” said Earle. “This protected area where even the fish have a safe haven, is a gift to the world.”

Scuba Diving Tours

Divers from around the world visit John Pennekamp State Park to explore the spectacular living reefs of the Florida Keys and experience diving amidst the area’s extraordinary wildlife. Our PADI 5-Star Gold Palm facility offers two-location, two-tank dives twice daily, at 9:00am and 1:30pm.

Dive tours are $55 per person. Equipment rental is available.

Contact our dive shop about reservations and special rates for groups and pre-paid tours – (305) 451-6322 or (877) PARK DIVE (877-727-5348). Minimum passenger requirements apply on all tours.

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