This week I thought I’d reflect on my good fortune to live in a state so rich in history, science, and the arts.
Florida is historically unique, as it was “colonially” settled before the thirteen colonies. Of course, like the rest of North America, the Native Americans were here first, but they were contending with Spanish explorers by the early 1500s. St. Augustine, not Plymouth, is the oldest city in the United States, having been founded in 1565 on the Catholic feast day of Augustine of Hippo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Augustine,_Florida
Florida is also a wealth of flora and fauna. As a child, I was surprised to see palm trees when my family first visited. As an adult, I was equally surprised to realize pine trees were a common sight, especially in northern Florida. I must have slept through that part of the trip as a child! Alligators, egrets, sandhill cranes, tree frogs… the list goes on. One of the best loved animals in the Sunshine State has to be the manatee. I don’t think I actually knew what one looked like before moving here.
Locally known fact: Head to the local power plant in the winter to see manatees. They go where the warm water is!
One place I’ve been to repeatedly when I need some Florida enlightenment is the South Florida Museum. I could, and have, spent hours wandering through this place. The museum features Florida history, an aquarium housing “Snooty”, the oldest living manatee in captivity, and a state-of-the-art planetarium. This spring, the museum is having Friday movie nights featuring films with a Florida setting. In March, I plan to go see a film about Marjorie Kinnen Rawlings, who wrote The Yearling.
Have a great weekend, everybody. Enjoy some local history and science wherever you are!