Residents Ranked it As the Best Snorkeling Spot in Florida

If you’re looking for Jesus, travel to Key Largo with your snorkel. While most snorkeling places are known for their fish sightings, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in The Keys has an added attraction: a statue of Jesus Christ (though the sea life is also amazing).

In fact, the park is so unique that Southern Living readers named it the best snorkeling destination in Florida in 2024 South’s Best Awards.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park’s History

Residents Ranked it As the Best Snorkeling Spot in Florida

The first undersea park in the United States, Pennekamp was founded in 1963 by a group of forward-thinking environmentalists (including the late Miami newspaper editor John D. Pennekamp) to help rescue a piece of North America’s sole living coral reef. Since then, the protected area has become a home for hundreds of tropical fish, seagrass, turtles, sponges, and other creatures, as well as the site of a well-known work of art.

What Is The Christ of the Abyss?

Residents Ranked it As the Best Snorkeling Spot in Florida

A nine-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Jesus with his arms outstretched, as if blessing the sea and all its inhabitants, can be found about 25 feet below the surface on the Key Largo Dry Rocks reef. The monument and its concrete base are covered in plants and algae, giving it the appearance of being part of the reef itself. Scuba divers can see it best, but snorkelers can also see it if they take a boat out. Several local tour firms provide daily trips.

Guido Galletti, an Italian artist, built the statue known as “Christ of the Abyss” or “Christ of the Deep,” which was put in the park in 1965. Galletti created three of these bronze sculptures that we know of: the first is in the Mediterranean Sea (near Genoa), the second is at St. George’s Harbor in Grenada, and the third was donated to the Underwater Society of America, where it ended up at Pennekamp.

Also, Read: 7 Most Dangerous Counties in Florida With Highest Crime Rate

What more is there to do at John Pennekamp?

Residents Ranked it As the Best Snorkeling Spot in Florida

Although the Christ of the Abyss statue remains a popular attraction after all these years, Pennekamp’s actual aim is conservation and education. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddle board and explore the park’s 50 miles of natural mangrove paths, or enjoy a guided walking tour.

Ride a glass-bottomed boat, explore the park’s 30,000-gallon aquarium, or swim around an offshore reef. Whatever you select, you will gain a new understanding of Florida’s delicate and diverse underwater ecosystem.

Read More:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *