• Purple, yellow, gold and orange sponges and soft corals wave against a turquioise sea.

    Biscayne

    National Park Florida

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  • Boat Tours, Paddle-craft Rentals and Select Conveniences Temporarily Unavailable

    Glass-bottom, snorkel, diving and island boat tours, and rentals for canoes and other paddle-craft, are temporarily unavailable. The park is working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and regrets the inconvenience. Limited snack items are available.

<i>Family Fun Fest</i> Continues with: <i>America's Best Idea</i>

The Evil Dr. Verduga is chased by the Climate: 911 Superheroes.
The evil Dr. Verduga is chased by the <i>Climate: 911</i> superheroes.
Thomas M. Strom

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Date: December 30, 2009
Contact: Gary Bremen, 305-230-1144, x007

Last fall, filmmaker Ken Burns showed the nation that the National Parks are America’s Best Idea in his 12 hour PBS television series. Biscayne is just one of 392 National Parks. Each tells a little piece of the American story, and January’s installment of the park’s popular Family Fun Fest event will feature activities from some of Biscayne’s sister parks across the country to help kids get a handle on some of the cool stuff they own. The free event takes place on Sunday, January 10, 2010 at the park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Stations located around the visitor center provide a variety of interactive and hands-on activities, including:

  • Devils Tower— Learn about the first National Monument before scaling a rock wall!
  • DeSoto— Meet some of Spanish Explorer Hernando DeSoto’s men as they fire an arquebus!
  • Petrified Forest — Discover how wood turns to stone with a cool suncatcher to take home!
  • Redwood— What’s going on high up in the world’s tallest trees?
  • Climate: 911! — Visit a dispatch center that sends superheroes out to national parks with “climate emergencies!” Episode 2 of a four-part series!

Participants will receive a paper passport to be punched at each station as they complete the activities. Those who complete all five activities will earn a special button to help remember the day, and those who earn five buttons in a season will receive a Family Fun Fest Fanatic award in April.

Family Fun Fest takes place on the second Sunday of every month from December through April. The series is made possible through a grant from the Captain Bob Lewis Boat Center Yamaha Billfish Challenge and the Bobby Duryea Memorial Fund at the South Florida National Parks Trust. Additional support this month comes from DeSoto National Memorial, Everglades National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, Petrified Forest National Park, Redwood National Park, the Devils Tower Natural History Association, the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves and a host of dedicated volunteers.

Future Family Fun Fest events in the 2009 season are:

  • BioBlitz: For the Love of Diversity — February 14 — Discover an amazing array of plants and animals as Biscayne prepares for the largest survey of life in the park’s history!
  • Liter-a-Sea: Oceans of Knowledge — March 14 — The ocean is the lifeblood of both the park and the planet — are you “ocean-literate?”
  • The Best Family Fun Fest EVER! — April 11 — The 50th Family Fun Fest features the best activities of the first 10 years…selected by YOU the participants!

The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is located at 9700 SW 328 Street, nine miles east of Homestead, Florida. Call 305-230-7275, extension 555 for more information.

Did You Know?

Semaphore pricklypear cactus

In 2001, scientists taking a plant inventory in Biscayne National Park discovered a population of semaphore pricklypear cactus, one of the world's rarest plants. Previously known as only 9 plants in the lower Florida Keys, the new population numbered 570 plants...over 60 times the previous count.