FLORIDA FROM A-Z
In God We Trust
Facts about Florida for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information.
A IS FOR AGRICULTURE, ARCHAEOLOGY, & ART
B IS FOR BEACHES, BIRDS, BRIDGES, & BYWAYS
C IS FOR CANALS, CAPITAL, COMMUNICATION, & COUNTIES
AGRICULTURE has been important to economic development in Florida. Citrus fruit is the most important agricultural product, and the state leads the world in grapefruit production. Florida has more than 40,000 farms that supply the country with fresh produce year round. Cattle ranches make the state a leading cattle producer. Florida is a top producer of sugar cane and ranks number one in the country in producing foliage plants. The
State Soil is Myakka a fine sand. The
State Fair is held in Tampa. Florida has
4-H Clubs and chapters of
Future Farmers of America. The
National Agriculture Statistic Service and
AG in the Classroom provide information about agriculture.
Florida has several organizations that are involved in
Lake Jackson mounds is an Archaeological State Park. The
Underwater Archaeology Program includes historic shipwreck sites, and pre-Columbian sites that are among the oldest human sites in the world. There are several
underwater Archeological Preserves. The
Crystal River State Archeological site is an Indian Cermonial Site. The Florida Department of State is responsible for promoting the historical, archaeological, museum and folk cultures resources in Florida. The state celebrates
Forida has many
ART museums and galleries. The
Cummer Gallery of Art in Jacksonville displays work dating back to 400 B.C. Miami's Art Deco district has the biggest collection of Art Deco-style buildings in the world and is a National Register Historic District. Most of the cities in Florida have their own architecture.
D IS FOR DAMS & DINOSAURS
E IS FOR EARTHQUAKES, EDUCATION, & EVENTS
Florida has thousands of miles of
CANALS and levees. There are 3 types of canals - finger-fill, upland, and straight. The 6 major canals are North New River, Hillsboro, West Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Caloosahalchee, and Miami which is the longest.
Tallahassee is the CAPITAL of Florida. The capitol building is one of only 4 states capitols that are skyscrapers. The old and new capitol buildings stand side by side.
St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States. The Florida
State Play, "Cross and Sword", tells the story of the Spanish colonization of this city. Wasau is the Possum Capital of the world and Venice is the
Sharkstooth Capital of the world. The area southwest of Miami is the Winter Vegetable Capital of the country. Florida is sometimes called the Fishing Capital of the world because over 700 world-record fish catches have come from the waters of the state.
Florida has all forms of
COMMUNICATION including newspapers, radio, television, telephone, and internet. The state has many
Telephone Area Codes. There are
Internet Service Providers and
Webcams throughout Florida.
Florida has 67 COUNTIES. The largest county is
Union is the smallest.
Liberty has the smallest population.
Miami-Date has the largest population and has a special
Webpage for Kids.
Hernando County is the geographic center of the state.
Jacksonville is the largest city in the lower 48 states and the westernmost city on the East Coast. Key West is the southernmost city of the continental United States.
The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states for the level of
government below the state government.
Florida has experience several
EARTHQUAKES in the past 200 years, but it is considered one of the most geologically stable regions in the country. The largest earthquakes were in 1780 and 1879. The most recent earthquake was in 1952. The famous
South Carolina earthquake in 1886 was felt throughout northern Florida,
F IS FOR FLAG, FLOWER, FOOD, & FORTS
EDUCATION in Florida is free and mandatory for ages 6 through 16. The Department of Education operates community colleges and vocational schools throughout the state. Florida also has a program for
adult education and family literacy. Private education ranges from preschool to military academies to church-supported schools. The oldest wooden schoolhouse in the country is in St. Augustine. Information about schools is available at
Florida has many
EVENTS and festivals throughout the year including
State and County Fairs. The
Florida Folk Festival is one of the oldest official state festival in the country.
Calle Ocho is an annual festival. The
Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center in White Springs has a Folk Festival. April 2 was designated as State Day because Ponce de Leon first sighted Florida about that date in 1513. The
Scottish American Society of South Florida promotes Scottish culture and has many events during the year. The Irish Cultural Institute of Florida has a festival. The state observes
Fixed Public Holidays and celebrates many other holidays.
Trade Shows are held during the year.
G IS FOR GHOST TOWNS, GLOBAL POSITION, & GULF STREAM
FLAG has a red X on a white field with the state seal in the center. Florida has flown 5 national flags including the flag of Spain, France, and Great Britain. Some counties, islands, and cities have their own flag. There have been several versions of the
State Seal. The present State Seal shows a Seminole Indian woman, a steamboat, and the
State Tree. The
Miccosoukee and the
Seminole Tribes have a flag.
The State Flower of Florida is the
Orange Blossom, and
Orange Juice is the State Beverage.
Coreopsis is the
Fairchild Tropical Gardens claims to be the largest botanical garden in the country.
Florida has many
FOOD Festivals, Shows, & Events. The
Florida Association of Food Banks serves all the counties in the state. The
Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services is responsible for assuring the public of a safe, wholesome and properly represented food supply.
Florida has many historic
FORTS. Fort Castello de San Marcos is a National Park.
Fort Pickens was the largest of a group of forts designed to fortify Pensecola Harbor.
Fort Barracanas has been a harbor fortification since 1763.
Castello de San Marcus is the oldest masonry fort in the country.
Fort Mose was the first free black settlement in the country and is a National Historic Landmark.
H IS FOR HISTORIC SITES, HISTORY, & HURRICANES
I IS FOR INDUSTRIES, ISLANDS, & INSECTS
J IS FOR JAI ALAI & JAZZ
Florida has over 100
GHOST TOWNS. Many have been restored.
Balm has its original postmaster's house, post office, and railroad station.
Hague has a few residents, an 1880 school house, and a Methodist Church.
Sun City has a few houses.
Anona has an old house, barn, cemetery, church and school.
Garfield has an abandoned cemetery.
Picnic has a general store and school house.
Torrey has a few houses.
GLOBAL POSITION of Florida is approximately 24-31 degrees north longitude and 80-87 degrees west latitude.
Key Westzz is the farthest south of the contiguous United States. The highest point in Florida is only 345 feet above sea level.
NOAA provides information about the
topography of Florida.
Geocaching is a high-tech sport using a Global Positioning System, and
geocaches are located throughout the state.
GULF STREAM along the east coast of Florida is a fast, intense current. The
Gulf of Mexico is south and west of Florida. The
Port of Pensacola, located on the Gulf of Mexico, is the leading deep-water port in northwest Florida.
Gulf Islands National Seashore is the largest seashore in the country.
K IS FOR KARST, KEYS, & KIDS
L IS FOR LAKES, LIBRARIES, & LIGHTHOUSES
JAI ALAI is called the fastest game in the world and is the most distinctive gambling sport in Florida. Miami Jai Aliai is the oldest jai alai arena in the country. Florida has more
dog racetracks than any other state, and betting on dog racing is legal in North Florida. The state has several horse racetracks including Calder Race Course, Gulfstream Park,
Hialeah Park, Pompano Park, and Tampa Bay Downs, and betting on horse racing is legal in South Florida.
JAZZ is popular in Florida, and there are many
Jazz Clubs. There is a variety of
music Festivals including jazz festivals throughout the state. The
Jazz Society of Pensacola promotes jazz music. The
Florida Orchestra offers information about concerts and educational programs. The
Sarasota Music Festival held every summer welcomes young musicians from all over the world to study and play. Florida has more than 30 professional dance troupes. The
Florida Dance Festival offers dance companies, school groups, and independent choreographers and opportunity to perform. St. John's River City Band is the official band of the State of Florida and the city of Jacksonville. The state has several
M IS FOR MILITARY, MINERALS, & MUSEUMS
Florida has hundreds of
Lake Okeechobee is the largest lake in the state and the 2nd largest freshwater lake completely in the United States. A 100 mile long dike around the lake made the area one of the richest agricultural lands in the world.
Academic Libraries are located throughout Florida. The
State Library is in Tallahassee.
Florida has many
LIGHTHOUSES. Some of the them have keepers and some offer tours. The
St. Augustine Lighthouse is one of the oldest on the East Coast. The towers of offshore lighthouses had skeleton iron construction to resists huricanes. The
American Shoal lighthouse was honored on a series of postage stamps on American lighthouses. The most important aspect of a
lighthouse is the light that comes from the tower.
Florida had several
MILITARY bases and aerospace industries.
Cape Canaveral is the home of the country's Space Program. The
Kennedy Space Center features a moon rock, and the State Gems is a
Pensacola Naval Air Station is known as the "Cradle of Naval Aviation". The National Museum of Naval Aviation is located here. The
American Police Hall of Fame and Museum is in Miami. The
Army Corps of Engineers has several projects in Florida. The state has Army and Air
National Guard Units
In certain areas of Florida, some
MINERALS are of economic importance and are mined. The state produces most of the
phosphate in the country. Florida has 3 major rock types - igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary, and much of the state is covered by sediment rocks.
U.S. Geological Survey has programs in Florida and
maps of the geology of the state.
Florida has many
Florida Department of State is responsible for promoting the historical, archaeological, museum, and folk cultures resources in Florida. The
Museum of Florida History covers 12,000 years of the state's geology and history. It has Spanish, British, and Civil War exhibits, and native birds and animals roam the wilderness behind the museum. The
Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum has treasures and historical objects.
N IS FOR NAME & NATIVE AMERICANS
O IS FOR OBSERVATORIES & OCEAN
P IS FOR PARKS & PEOPLE
The Spanish explorer
Ponce de Leon discovered Florida and gave it the NAME Pascua Florida honoring the Easter Festival of Flowers. The official nickname for Florida is Sunshine State and it is on some motor vehicle license plates. It is also called Peninsula State, Orange State, and Alligator State. No other state is nicknamed for a reptile. Fort Lauderdale is often called the Venice of America because of its lagoons, canals, and rivers. The
Daytona International Speedway has professional auto races amd is known as the World Center of Racing and calls itself the home of speed. The 2 largest groups in Florida are known as
Yankees, those who immigrated from the Midwest and Northeast, and
Crackers, those born in Georgia or Florida. People who live in Florida during the winter and return north during the summer are called snowbirds.
Thousands of years ago NATIVE AMERICANS lived in Florida. They are called
Paleo Indians, and several Paleo Indian sites are scattered around the state. Several centuries after Ponce de Leon arrived, most of the native people were gone. A new group of Indians began to arrive early in the 18th century. Florida has 2 federally recognized tribes - The
Seminole and the
Miccosukee . They live on reservations in South Florida. There are also several
non-recognized tribes in the state.
Q IS FOR QUARTER, QUILTING, & QUIZ
R IS FOR REGIONS, REPTILES, & RIVERS
Florida has a variety of
PARKS including 3 National
National Parks, over 100
State Parks, and
Theme and Amusement Parks. Most of Biscayne National Park is under water.
Dry Tortugas National Park is a 7 island archipelago and the site of a 19th century fort.
Everglades National Park is a chain of lakes, rivers and marshlands that spreads over much of south Florida. It is the largest subtropical wilderness in the country. The southern most place in the continental United States is at the very tip of the park. There are also dozens of national monuments and memorials.
Wakulla Springs State Park has one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world.
The state has a
Florida has a
population of over 16 million PEOPLE.
Famous people from Florida include Chris Evert, champion tennis player; Janet Reno, former U.S. Attorney General; and Tiger Woods, professional golf champion. The
International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale showcases the greatest swimmers in the world. The
Astronaut Hall of Fame is located at the Kennedy Space Center. Many older people have moved to Florida turning the state into a retirement haven.
S IS FOR SEA LIFE, SPORTS & STATE SEAL
Florida is made up of
6 regions - Northwest, Northeast, West Central, East Central, Southwest, and Southeast.
Florida is home to many
REPTILES and amphibians including crocodils, frogs,lizards, salamanders, toads, turtles, and 6 species of
Many of the reptiles are
protected. The Everglades is home to more than 1,000 alligators and the American Alligator is the
Florida has nearly 2,000 RIVERS, streams, and creeks including 8
scenic rivers. The
Loxahatchee and the
Wekiva are wild and scenic rivers. The famous
Suwanee River is the subject of the
State Song. St. Johns River is the longest river in the state. The Perdide River marks Florida's western border with Alabama. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains locks along the rivers. The
State Freshwater Fish is the Largemouth Bass. Florida has a variety of
A large variety of
SEA LIFE lives off the coast of Florida. The
Atlantic Sailfish is the State Saltwater Fish, the
Dolphin is the State Saltwater Mammal, and the
Manatee is the State Marine Mammal. Florida has many
aquariums, marine science centers, and aquatic life attractions.
T IS FOR TOURISM, TRANSPORTATION, & TREE
Florida has many
SPORTS teams and several
sports stadiums. Many major league baseball teams hold spring training in Florida. The state hosts more college football games than any other state. Recreational sports include tennis, boating, fishing, swimming, and scuba diving. Golfing is a popular activity, & there are about 1,500 Public & Private
Golf Courses. The state hosts several major golf tournaments throughout the year. Racing is a popular spectator sport and there are a variety of
Race Tracks including
Motor Speedways and
Horse Racing Tracks. The largest swimming pool in the continental U.S. is in Coral Gables.
Florida has all forms of
Florida Department of Transportation impacts nearly every form of transportation in the state. The first
511 Service in the country was launched in Florida. The state has a wide variety of
Specialty License Plates including two tribes - Miccosukee Indian and
Seminole Indian. To celebrate its 50th birthday in 2002 Matchbox cars issued a car for each state in the order in which it was admitted into the Union. The car for Florida was a
Chevrolet Camaro SS. Florida has an
U IS FOR UNIVERSITY & USS FLORIDA
Florida has a variety of TREES. Forests cover about half of Florida, and the state has several
National Forests. The
State Tree is the Sabal Palm. Florida has more
Champion Trees than any other state -- 175 of the oldest, tallest, most majestic trees in the world. The Champion live oak near Gainesville has a crown whose shade covers half a football field. A bald cypress outside Orlando stands 118 feet tall, and has been nicknamed The Senator.
V IS FOR VEGETATION
Florida has a large system of
UNIVERSITIES and colleges. The
University of Florida at Gainseville is the largest university in the state. One of the largest private institutes in Florida is the
University of Miami which is noted for its marine biology program.
At least 6 United States Navy ships have been named
The 1st ship was a sloop that served on survey duty between 1824 and 1831.
The 2nd ship was a side-wheel steamer purchased in 1861 and sold after 1867.
The 3rd ship was originally the screw frigate Wampanoag renamed in 1869, and sold in 1885. The 4th ship was a monitor commissioned in 1903, renamed to Tallahassee in 1908, and sold in 1922.
The 5th ship was the
USS Florida (BB-30) a battleship commissioned 1911 and scrapped in 1932.
The 6th ship is the
USS Florida (SSBN-728) an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine commissioned in 1983.
W IS FOR WEATHER & WILDLIFE
Florida has a wide variety of
VEGETATION. Many have evolved in relation to fire, and some plant communities depend on fire for their continued existence. Most of the rare vegetation of Florida is associated with
scrubsscattered along the central ridges of the Florida peninsula. Florida has many
native plants that provide food and shelter to wildlife. Many of the native plants are
protected. in Florida. Orchids, azaleas and pointsettias grow wild in the state. The subtropical climate and abundant summer moisture supports rich vegetation in southern Florida. Fifty percent of the state is covered in swamp. The
Nature Conversancy helps preserve the land in Florida.
X IS FOR XMAS
WEATHER in Florida is generally warm and sunny and pleasant all year. Southern Florida is tropical with cycles of wet and dry months. The northern part of the state enjoys a temperate climate. The weather in the state promotes fires through seasonal dry periods and frequent thunderstorms. The
Florida Climate Center and
NOAA provide information about weather. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information about
Global Warming in Florida.
WILDLIFE of Florida is rich and varied. Many animals are
protected by the state and some are considered endangered. The panther is the
State Animal. Florida has 28
Wildlife Refuges. More than 500 animal species live in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. More endangered species live here than in any other refuge in the country. Animals found in scrub ecosystems are adapted to high temperatures and droughty conditions.
Monkey Jungle takes part in an international program to breed wild animals and then release them into protected habitats. Florida is part of the
Wildlife Protection Program.
XMAS is the abbreviation for Christmas and it is celebrated in Florida much as it is in the rest of
around the world. The first Christmas in America was observed in 1539 by Spaniards in what is now Florida.
Y IS FOR YMCA AND YOUTH HOSTELS
Z IS FOR ZIP CODES, ZONE, & ZOOS
YMCA organizations are located throughout Florida. There are also several YMCA camps including Camp Cristina, Camp Immokale, Camp Indian Springs, and Camp Winona.
YOUTH HOSTELS are located up and down the beaches of Florida. Florida also has
The use of postal ZIP CODES began in 1963. Zip codes in
Florida all start with a 32,33, or 34. The postal code for Florida is FL. The Post Office at
Ochopee is the smallest in the country.
Most of Florida is in the
Eastern Time ZONE, but a small part is in the
Central Time Zone. It ranges from zones 8 to 11 in the U.S. Department of Agriculture
hardiness zones. The geography of Florida is such that the entire state is considered to be within the
coastal zone , and it is considered a peninsula because it is surrounded on 3 sides by water.
Florida has many
ZOOS and aquariums. The
Miami Metro Zoo is a cageless zoo and the only zoo in the country in a subtropical climate. The
Lowry Park Zoological Garden in Tampa has 1,600 animals, rides, waterplay areas, and restaurants.