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Let's take a look at Florida. It's that state that's a peninsula, and it gets really hot. Oh, and don't forget that Disney World and Dexter the TV serial killer can be found there. But that's not all. Here are some fun facts about Florida you probably didn't know!
Before you dive in, let's get some things out of the way. First of all, Florida isn't all humidity and awesome Cuban bars. There are also plenty of just as awesome mom-and-pop diners, albeit they come with humidity, too. Also, while there are seven cities named Jacksonville in the U.S., the Jacksonville located in Florida is all the humidity and very few of the Cuban bars.
Finally, if you've ever been to the Florida Keys, you know that their stunning beauty is broken only by the world's greatest collection of toll bridges. And, of course, the millions of smushed lovebugs all over the front grill of every single car.
All that aside, here are some fun facts about Florida you didn't know.
How We Dug up Our Facts
Are you wondering how we came up with these fun facts about Florida? Perhaps you're even questioning our veracity?
Well, have no fear, because we strive to bring you only factual, verified information that can help you in your life. That includes winning random trivia contests.
So we set out to scour the internet for authoritative sources that we can use to compile all the information we need. In the case of fun facts about Florida, we started off the with Florida's own government-run tourism website. Also, we hit up one of our favorite sites, Fact File. Despite its circa 2004 web design, it's an awesome repository of interesting information.
The end result of our search on these sites, and others like them (sorry Wikipedia, we left you out), was a great list of fun facts about Florida.
Fun Facts About Florida
Do you want to know a secret?
Okay, we'll tell you: we were pleasantly surprised by some of the fun facts about Florida that we learned during our research. For instance, we didn't know that Florida is the only place in the world where both alligators and crocodiles coexist. Weird!
Of course, there are a lot more strange little facts like this. Our biggest problem was figuring out which ones to run with, and which to leave behind. We think you'll appreciate the fun facts about Florida that we chose for you.
There are a whole lot of Floridians
Image via Flickr
First on our list is a stale, but interesting little fact. You see, Florida is the third most populous state in the United States of America. With 21.6 million inhabitants, Florida is only dwarfed by California (40 million) and Texas (28 million).
After all, surely there are better places in the U.S. to live than Florida, right? Like Michigan, with its lakes and freezing cold winters. Or Minnesota, with its freezing cold winters. And what about New York, with its crowded cities and freezing cold winters?
Well, there you have it.
Florida is lit!
Image via Flickr
Did you know that Florida receives more lightning strikes per year than any other place in the world? That's right; we said THE WORLD. It's true!
Fourteen of Florida's counties receive the highest density of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the world, average 20 flashes per square mile. That's thanks to all the warm water surrounding Florida, which, mixed with the hot equatorial sun, causes plenty of clouds and water vapor. Because of its unique peninsular shape, Florida gets inundated by lighting from all sides.
But guess what?
Florida also leads the world in lightning-related deaths! Bet you weren't expecting that little fun fact.
You're never too far from the beach...literally
Here's another fun fact about Florida. No matter where you are in the state, the beach is only an hour away, or less.
You can be on the Atlantic coast, and the Gulf of Mexico is only an hour away in the other direction. That's about 60 miles. So if you like the beach, you can't get better than Florida.
To be fair, Michigan has some nice beaches, but those winters...ugh.
Florida has some goofy laws
Every state is guilty of keeping some strange laws on their books. Looking at you Alaska. But when it comes to absurd laws that don't make any sense, Florida gives Alaska and Georgia a run for their money.
Take, for instance, the law that prohibits people singing while wearing swimwear. Is this related to Spring Break festivities? Or is it a throwback to the good old days of 1912? We're not sure.
Then there's a law that requires anyone riding a skateboard to have a license to ride said skateboard. Okay, so maybe that makes a little sense. After all, you don't want people getting hurt or run down by crazed skater bois. But get this. There is no license for skateboarding available from the state.
So, where does one get a skateboarding license? We don't know.
Finally, our favorite law in Florida has to be the one that bans unmarried women from skydiving on Sundays. Seriously. Well, that and the one that makes it a crime for women to be electrocuted in the bathtub by a hairdryer. Or the one that bans eating cottage cheese after six pm in Tampa Bay. That's our favorite.
Jacksonville is huge. No, seriously
Jacksonville is actually the largest city in the U.S.
It doesn't have the population of New York or Los Angeles, but when it comes to sheer physical size, Jacksonville beats them all. With over 840 square miles of dense suburbs, Jacksonville is larger than some countries. Wow!
Photo by Spencer Wing via Unsplash
Did you know that Florida supplies 50 percent of the world's oranges? Think of all those oranges, all that orange juice, and everything else that oranges are valued for.
Florida produces more orange juice than any other jurisdiction in the world, save Brazil. That's a lot of orange juice. And don't even get us started on grapefruits. Florida has that one locked up, too.
Florida supplies nearly 60 percent of the world's grapefruits and almost 30 percent of the world's lemons. All told, 76,000 people work in Florida's citrus industry, which generates more than $1 billion a year. The entire world should thank Florida for bringing deliciousness and sticky fingers to them.
It's not such a small world after all
Photo by Renato Mitra via Unsplash
Talking about tens of thousands of people working, there are 62,000 workers at Disney World. That's basically the population of a small city!
And when you visit Disney World, it feels like a small city. Not every one of those employees is dressed in Mickey Mouse costumes. There are ticket vendors, ride operators, cleaners, food workers, hotel cleaners, cart drivers, accountants, managers, lawyers, and don't forget the cowboys who shoot each other every hour in the Cowboy Village.
But get this.
Twenty million people visit Disney World each year. That comes out to nearly 60,000 per day. Which makes Disney World a lot more interesting than Jacksonville.
America's oldest tree
Florida once had the oldest tree east of the Mississippi. This bald cypress tree was 3,500 years old and stood 118 feet high. They called it "The Senator."
Just think, Senator started growing around 1500 BCE. That's about the time that Egypt built pyramids and conquered Numibia. The first Mycenean civilization began in Greece. And in Florida, a beloved relic that would last through the ages grew roots.
The fun ended in January 2012, however, when a woman smoking meth accidentally burned the tree down. What an end.
Crocs and gators live in harmony
Did you know that Florida is the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators live together? It's true!
The Florida Everglades represents one of the most unique and sensitive ecosystems in the world. One reason for this is because of the unique mix of salt and fresh water as well as the silts this mix causes in the Everglades. As a result, both opportunistic gators and dangerous man-eating crocodiles spend their days lounging here. You won't find that in Minnesota!
Come On Down!
If you're looking for an excuse to visit, then some of these fun facts about Florida should be enough to convince you to check it out.
Those were just some of the more interesting ones we found. There are so many more. Did you know that Florida has the lowest high point in the U.S.? Britton Hill is the highest point in Florida but is only 300 feet above sea level. Or that Florida has more golf courses per capita than anywhere else in the world? Perhaps you had already heard that Florida's St. Johns River is one of the only rivers that flow from south to north.
Finally, Floridians can be proud of the fact that one of their own invented the refrigerator. If you've ever been to Florida in the summer, that just makes sense.
So come on down and see it for yourself!
Featured Image via Unsplash