Located in Key Largo, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the country’s first undersea park, encompassing nearly 70 nautical square miles. The park was established to protect a unique segment of the only living coral reef in North America; it boasted an annual visitation of more than half a million people from 2018-2019.
The extensive patch coral reef system in the park is comprised of 32 stony coral species and 14 octocoral species, which support a diverse variety of marine animals. The protected coral reef, large seagrass beds, and mangrove ecosystems of Key Largo are home to numerous species that are critically economically, culturally, and ecologically important.
After stony coral tissue loss disease began to ravage Florida’s coral reef tract, protection of coral species quickly became a pillar of our Foundation’s work. This is why we supplied a $27,119 grant, courtesy of our Discovering Florida’s Oceans license plate, to Pennekamp State Park to support an underwater viewing center of the reef.
The underwater camera, also known as the Coral Cam, live streams from a coral reef inside the park. Viewers have the opportunity to see beautiful purple fan corals, blue angelfish, trunkfish, and hundreds more at the click of a button. On-site, the Coral Cam is also featured at a permanent kiosk inside the park’s visitor center.
Ready to enter the underwater world of Florida’s coral reef? Click here to view the Coral Cam on YouTube.
Interested in helping us save Florida’s coral reef? Support our Restoring Our Reefs fund with a donation today.