Mostly a peninsula in geography, there are things about Florida as a state that both and your kids would love to know. From natural resources, wildlife to fun places, Florida is a great place to explore. The 22nd largest state with a large population (3rd in the United States), sunny Florida is a popular tourist destination for families. Miami, Tampa, Orlando are some of the major cities in Florida to host most of the fun and excitement.
Historical Facts About Florida
Florida state facts and history date back to over 12,000 years. Native American tribes like the Tunica, Apalachee, Creek and Calusa lived in the area, hunted small animals, and gathered wild plants. A few interesting historical facts about Florida are listed below:
- Spanish conqueror Ponce de Leon sailed there in 1953 in the quest for gold and silver. However, he found fertile land with a vast coastline that was favorable for vegetation and shipping. Historians believe that it was discovered on Easter day or Palm Sunday. He named it La Florida in honor of the Spanish Feast of Flowers (Easter) or Pascua Florida.
- Britain tried to gain ownership of Florida in exchange for Cuba. But at the end of the Revolutionary War, Spain took back hold of Florida until 1821. Spain gave Florida away to the US in exchange for Texas.
- Before the arrival of Europeans, Florida was inhabited by tribes with a population of 35,000.
- Native Americans still live in Florida and are called Seminoles.
- Florida was located in the South Pole of the Gondwana continent about 650 million years ago. After glaciation, Florida got the shape of Florida, and several rivers flowed into the area.
- Most colonies near Florida were situated near the rivers.
- In the year 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the United States of America.
- The first Governor of Florida was William Dunn Moseley.
Florida Geography Facts
Florida is surrounded by water, and its fertile land is the most suitable for agriculture and vegetation. The geographical landscape of Florida makes it a traveler’s delight. A few geographical facts about Florida:
- Florida is connected to Alabama in the northwest and Georgia in the northeast.
- A swim on the West Coast of Florida will land you on the Gulf of Mexico
- A dive along the East Coast of Florida will drift you to the Atlantic Ocean.
- The South Coast offers you a getaway to the Straits of Florida.
- The plains around the coast have sandy beaches, coral reefs, and islands wonderful for sea adventures.
- While the coasts are taking you different strips of water, Florida’s upland in the north is a hilly region. The Marianna lowlands in the North West are home to caves and sinkholes.
- The south of Florida has the canoes where you will find the Everglades National Park that is spread across 1.5 million acres of marshland which is swampy and inhabited by wildlife.
- The state’s southernmost tip is home to an archipelago of 1700 tiny islands called the Florida Keys. If you ever fancy an island hop, the causeway and the 42 bridges will let you experience a completely different island tour.
Facts About Florida Climate and Food
Florida is blessed with different climatic conditions favorable for agriculture and food cultivation with its varied geographical landscape. This, in turn, has its influence on the food and culture of the state. Below are a few facts about the climate and food available in Florida.
- Overall, Florida has a humid subtropical climate, with the areas towards the South of the Florida Keys enjoying a tropical climate.
- Due to its semi-tropical or tropical climate, Florida does not have a lot of snow. On rare occasions, cold moisture and freezing temperatures result in snowfall, especially in the Northern regions. Frost occurs more than snow.
- Florida has earned the moniker of “Sunshine State” even though severe temperatures are a common occurrence.
- The central part of Florida is known as the “Lighting Capital,” as lighting strikes the most in this region in the United States.
- With a high precipitation level, afternoon thunderstorms are common from late spring to early autumn.
- Florida also leads in the largest number of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. Hurricanes are common between June and November. It is one of the most hurricane-prone states.
- Hurricane Andrew in August 1992 caused damage of over 25 billion dollars.
- Adequate sunshine makes Florida a star bed for agriculture.
- From fresh tomatoes to citrus fruits, Florida produces a variety of vegetables and fruits.
- Almost 48,000 farms spread across 9.5 million acres speak volumes about the importance of agriculture in Florida.
- About 63% of citrus produce like grapes and oranges of America is cultivated in Florida.
- After California, Florida is the largest vegetable provider in the United States.
- Florida ranks number 2 in the production of nursery and greenhouse products.
- The influence of various tribes and inhabitants has a significant influence on the cuisines available in Florida. From the Caribbean to Latin American, one can find every kind of cuisine in Florida.
- Juice bars are a common feature in Florida, with orange juices being sold almost at every nook and corner.
- Sweet tea is loved in Florida.
- Cubano or the Cuban sandwich is very popular because of its ingredients – roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles in Miami and Tampa.
- Deep-fried or sushi-seafood is extremely popular in Florida.
- Almost all Florida homes have a barbecue every week.
- The peninsula is also dominated by its margaritas that are a perfect accompaniment to the cool, sandy beaches.
- Ice creams are the most popular dessert in Florida, and one can easily see almost everyone on the street licking them.
- Chicharron, Arepas, Churrasco, Mofongo, and Stone Crabs are also popular meals in Florida.
Languages Spoken in Florida
The official language of the state was designated to be English as per the Florida Constitution in 1988. Spanish is another widely spoken language because of the massive immigrant population that calls Florida their home. Almost 27% of the population speak Spanish as their first language. Over 200 languages are spoken in the state other than English. As of 2010, the most common languages spoken as the first language in Florida are as follows:
- English – 73%
- Spanish – 20%
- Haitian Creole – 2%
- Other languages spoken make up less than 1% of the state’s population.
Tallahassee is the capital city of Florida, and the state has a cabinet-style government. The three primary branches of the government are Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The Legislature consists of the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives, while the Supreme Court comprises a chief justice and six justices. The Senate has 40 members, while the Florida House of Representatives has 120 members.
Florida Economy Facts
Like any other State in the US, Florida has a raging economy. The state has an excellent economic status among US states, owing to its tourism and agriculture dominant and dependent structure.
- Florida is the fourth-largest economy in the USA.
- Tourism is the primary source of income for Florida’s economy. About 1.4 million people are employed in the tourism industry, and Florida boasts over 100 million visitors in a year. Disneyland itself sees about 45,000 every day.
- Agriculture comes close to tourism and ranks second as the source of Florida’s income. Home to the largest producer of citrus fruits, almost 70% of the produce of citrus fruits in the United States comes from Florida. About 2 million of the population are employed in agriculture.
- Florida is also the leading state for the sale of powerboats.
- Exports and imports are also an essential part of the economy, with major exports being vehicles, engines, seafood, minerals, oil, and gas.
- Mining, financial services, aerospace, and engineering are also integral industries of the economy.
- As with any coastal region, the culture of Florida is largely influenced by the inhabitants. While a large part of it is very similar to the rest of the United States, there is also a significant influence of Spanish, European, and Latin American cultures.
- Florida is primarily Protestant dominant in terms of religion. Roman Catholicism is equally dominant with a sizeable population of Jews.
- With several people migrating from across the world, Florida is also home to other religions.
- Florida Breaks and Miami Bass are some music genres that have originated in Florida.
- Floridians exude what is popularly known as the “Southern Charm” and are very warm towards visitors.
Famous Things About Florida
Florida has numerous things to offer to its visitors. A few famous must-visit sightings of the city are:
- Walt Disney World: An amusement park for visitors over decades; the fun never ends here.
- Kennedy Space Centre: The place, located by the coast, is an exciting, attractive, and educative spot to visit.
- Universal Studios: An excellent combination of amusement opportunities, it also has fun rides for the visitors.
- Miami Beach and the art deco historic district: Tourists can enjoy the sunny beach and witness the past glory. One can revel in the skyscrapers that are testimony to the architecture of the 1930s and 1940s.
- Daytona 500 International speedway is another attractive spot in Florida.
- Everglades National Park is a large land of marsh and swamp, home to crocodiles, alligators, deer, panthers, manatees, and many other species.
- Dry Tortugas National Park and SeaWorld Orlando are other popular attractions in the state.
Other Interesting Facts and Information About Florida
A few more interesting facts about Florida that will interest children:
- The mocking bird is the official state bird of Florida, and the panther is the state animal.
- The official flag of Florida is a white field with an “X” in the middle. The state seal is affixed on top of the “X.” The flag represents sunshine, lakes, palm trees, and flowers.
- Florida is also called the Alligator State as it has the largest number of alligators. The Everglade National Park is where one can find alligators and crocodiles living together.
- The sabal palm tree is considered the state tree of Florida.
- Miami is also known as the “magic city.”
- Florida is home to manatees, also called “sea cows,” because of their mammal and herbivore-like qualities. They are peaceful plant-eating aquatic creatures.
- Florida is home to several tolls and bridges, which are found abundantly in the United States.
- Florida also has the largest number of golf courses in the United States.
- The city of Jacksonville is the biggest in the United States of America.
- Florida boasts of the longest coastline in North America, with 1350 miles on land and 8426 on the tides.
- Florida is also the only American state that shares its border with the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
- With an elevation of 30 meters, Florida is the flattest state in the United States of America.
- Florida is the only American state to have two rivers with the same name. Withlacoochee in Central Florida and Withlacoochee in North Central Florida. The two rivers have nothing in common other than the name.
Florida is a tourist’s delight and also a major star on the map of the United States of America. With a diverse population, impressive culture, and a fascinating landscape, Florida has a lot to offer to discerning tourists. So if you are visiting Florida with your kids, you could spend some time learning these facts to make their holiday or journey more exciting.