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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.

Shipwrecks Highlighted at "Biscayne Wrecktacular" Family Fun Fest

A park volunteer teaches a family about cone snails.
Park Volunteer Amanda Henize teaches a family about cone snails.
Thomas M. Strom

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News Release Date: March 5, 2012
Contact: Gary Bremen, 305-230-1144, x007
Contact: Elizabeth Marie-Strom Edwards, 305-230-1144, x039

Biscayne National Park's maritime history is unique.With over 50 shipwrecks in the park, the stories behind the wrecks are the real treasures.The March 11 installment of Biscayne National Park's multiple award-winning Family Fun Fest will look at the five ships on Biscayne National Park's Maritime Heritage Trail.The free event takes place from 1-4 pm at the park's Dante Fascell Visitor Center, 9 miles east of Homestead. Free bus transportation will be provided from Florida City City Hall and from the Homestead YMCA. ALL PARTICIPANTS SHOULD REMEMBER THAT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME BEGINS THAT DAY AS WELL…MOVE CLOCKS AHEAD 1 HOUR TO AVOID MISSING THE FUN!

Family Fun Fest participants receive a passport that will guide them through five hands-on and engaging activity stations located around the visitor center. Stations, named for shipwrecks in the park, include:

  • Alicia - Meet a park ranger who is reminiscing about the heyday of the wreckers, men who helped to salvage cargo from stranded ships.
  • Erl King- Do you know how difficult marine navigation was before the invention of GPS? An astrolabe definitely helped!
  • Arratoon Apcar- Taking readings of the water's depth was a very important skill when sailors were exploring new waters.
  • Lugano - Pulleys are simple machines but just how much work can a simple machine really do?
  • 19th Century Wooden Sailing Vessel - What can be learned about a site that is nothing but rocks?

Participants who complete all activities will earn a specially-designed button to remember the day. Earning all five buttons in a season earns a Family Fun Fest Fanatic award in April. Fans of the park's Facebook page will also receive a clue to a special "Bonus Station" on the Facebook page on Sunday morning.

Don't foreget to mark your calendars for Skeleton Crew, the final Family Fun Fest for 2011-2012, to be held on April 15, 2012 (A WEEK LATER THAN USUAL DUE TO EASTER) - Take a look inside all kinds of critters, from corals and fish to manatees and dolphins.

Free bus transportation, made possible by the event's sponsors, will be available from the Florida City City Hall (departing at 12:45 pm)and the Homestead YMCA (departing at 1:45 pm); call 305-230-1144, x007 for details.

Family Fun Fest's Season 12: Myth, Magic and Mystery is made possible through a generous grant from the Captain Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge and the Bobby Duryea Fund at the South Florida National Parks Trust, with additional support from the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves and a host of dedicated volunteers.

The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is located at 9700 SW 328 Street, nine miles east of Homestead, Florida. Call 305-230-7275, extension 0 or visit the park's website at www.nps.gov/bisc for more information. For regular updates from the park, "like" us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BiscayneNPS and "follow" us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BiscayneNPS.


Did You Know?

sea squirts on a mangrove root

Tunicates, or sea squirts, live on the roots of the red mangrove tree. These simple animals survive by filtering plankton out of seawater, and hold promise as the source of potent drugs used to fight tumors. Watch for them when snorkeling along Biscayne National Park's mangrove-fringed shoreline.