FREE Wildlife Foliage Walkway

6749089125_d3493af5bb_bOK, you’re saying; “What’s a wildlife foliage walkway?” It’s simply a walkway filled with foliage imprints located inside a wildlife center. There, where’s that ‘EASY’ button? 🙂

I can’t begin to name or photograph the endless parade of local foliage embedded into this concrete wildlife walkway. As you can see by the photos, I’ve featured only one that I think is a palmetto frown and yet there are many more on your FREE walk around this wonderful gift of an attraction. You can spend an hour here easy seeing the other areas such as the Audubon pond, live bird exhibits, chick hatching pens and more.

You can find this great getaway attraction for the entire family within the Wildlife Center at 1801 White Street beside the Key’s largest bocce ball courts and across from the more famous White Street Pier.

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Largest Lobster Painting In Keys

IMG_3137There’s no need to drive all the way up and down the Florida Keys trying to find the largest lobster painting. Don’t bother wasting your time, I my friends have done it for you!

This second-story side wall mural for the most part goes unnoticed. It’s visible from only the west side of the building as most tourist are leaving town. By this time your just flat out ready to go home having taken all of the pictures needed for your weekend trip scrapbook.

Oh yeah, notice that I said largest lobster painting NOT largest lobster in the the Florida Keys. That honor goes to an incredible fiberglass replica further up the Keys that’s absolutely awesome!

You can find this hard to see largest lobster painting atop the roof of the Conch Town Liquor & Lounge at the corner of Peacock Street & North Roosevelt Blvd. in Key West.

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Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

Chicken Crossing Sign

Besides the question “What’s the meaning of Life?’, the other most ask question in the world is ‘Why did the Chicken cross the road?’ If you’re in Key West the answer to the second question is “That’s what they’re suppose to do!”

Chickens, Roosters & Hens by the 100’s all run free in Key West down all the back roads, main streets, side alleys, walkways including Duval Street. Most prominently seen in Old Town which is southwest Key West you can find them wandering around along with 1,000’s of tourist undaunted by the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life as they search the streets for their next meal and of course posing for pictures. They’ve become part of the tradition, heritage and allure of Key West so much that they even have their own grave yard seen below. At times you can see entire chicken families together which tourist flock to and those don’t like posing! At one time in recent years a movement began to rid the town of the barnyard animals that was squashed by traditional Conchs saying “They’ve been here as long as we have” and that’s why they’re still are today.

You can find these chickens, roosters & hens anywhere in town while walking or driving… and yes… THEY DO HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY! 🙂

PS – If your looking for a stranger town with animals running loose then go to Oatman, Arizona as we did where burros (similar to donkeys & jackasses) are the attraction! (100% TRUE)

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

    

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Rentals Anyone?

By far some of your best options for getting around town in Key West are scooters, bicycles or carts. Easy mobility on the narrow roads while the scooters and bicycles provide yet another huge benefit… PARKING!

I’d bet that there are close to 100 places around town to rent at least one of these modes of transportation ranging from specialized rental stores to the hotel you’re staying in. You don’t know till you ask, I’ve even heard of bikes being FREE if you’re staying at certain B&B’s or hotels. Of course prices range vastly as do all things in Key West with hamburgers & bikes alike almost always costing more on Duval Street which is the center of the tourist trade.

You can find this featured unnamed rental facility at 1910 North Roosevelt Blvd. here in SUNNY Key West.

         

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El Meson De Pepe

The Cuban American community has been a prominent part of the Key West culture for a century and no more visible than here at El Meson De Pepe.

This is nothing less than a FANTASTIC place to spend 30 minutes to an hour doing nothing but looking around at the wall décor, exhibits, cigar shop, restaurant, live music nightly, & all around joy to the eyes experience. It’s all FREE unless you eat it or take it home as a souvenir! 🙂

Seen below are a couple of twins I spotted and asked if I could take their pictures and of course all four said ‘Yes’. The bearded ones were in town for the annual Earnest Hemingway ‘Look-a-like’ contest just sitting down having a meal. The other odd looking guys (one tall & one small) looked like Danny DeVito & Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1988 genetic experiment comedy movie ‘Twins’. Believe it or not the two guy don’t even know each other but past the other wearing the same shirt which I thought extremely amusing! 🙂

You can find this proud centerpiece of the Cuban American community paying homage to its rich heritage and istory all over the outside and inside of the ‘El Meson de Pepe Restaurant’ located at the insanely popular tourist mecca of Mallory Square.

         

         

         

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Key Largo’s First Movie Theater

8629474977_739b472ba2_bHave you ever wondered where Key Largo’s first movie theater was? OK, I haven’t either! 🙂 You’re about to find out!

Behind this generic unassuming front of a building lies a treasured past that few residents of Key Largo are even aware of. This is in fact Key Largo’s first movie theater. I found this old movie theater totally by accident simply by asking questions while researching another blog. In questioning the manager of a local motel, he asked me if I knew about the building next door that they were using as a laundry. I said “No” as he then guided me on a personal tour. Talk about surprised, WOW was I impressed as our tour included the old projection room (seen below as the elevated cement block portion of the against the center apex of the building), where the movie screen hung (on the inside of the back block wall seen in the photo below), and of course the entrance with the plants and flowers around it in the featured photo.

You too can find Key Largo’s first movie theater at Mile Marker 99.5 bayside.

PS – I’ve been unable find any old photos or detailed information about the theater like its opening and close dates, seating capacity, concessions and so on. So if you know please contact me as a comment and I’ll surly respond! Thanks, Mr. 365 Days

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Historic Gato House

IMG_0815Welcome to historic Gato House built in 1894 by Cigar mogul Eduardo H. Gato one of Key West’s most prominent families.

Gato was instrumental in Key Wests evolution from a small fishing village to one of the wealthiest cities in Florida through his development of the Cuban cigar industry.  He built Key West’s foremost cigar factory using imported tobacco from Cuba, where millions of cigars were rolled, packaged and shipped all over the world.

Gato House can be found at the corner of South Street & Duval Street just up from the Southernmost Buoy.

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Monkey Puzzle Anyone?

IMG_3186Monkey Puzzle Anyone? No, I’m not talking about Monkey Puzzle Records out of the UK that released Sia’s #8 billboard smash hit ‘Chandelier’ in 2014. Let’s talk trees, so true, this tree is actually called a Monkey Puzzle Tree. This tree grows up to 40′ tall and sticks out like a sore thumb throughout the Keys mixed among palm trees and shrubs.

Upon hearing the name for the first time I was intrigued and knew there had to be a great story behind the naming of this uniquely looking tree. The origin of the popular English language name ‘Monkey Puzzle’ derives from Sir William Molesworth of England, the proud owner showing it to a group of friends, one remarked, “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that”. As the species had no existing popular name, the name ‘Monkey Puzzle’ stuck. And now you know! 🙂

You can find this uniquely looking ‘Monkey Puzzle Tree’ roadside on Lower Sugarloaf Key at Mile Marker 17.0 on US-1 bayside directly in front of the fire station.

PS – Since this photo was taken, the bottom portion of the tree has finally begun losing its branches which makes it harder to climb.

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Pirate Related Street Names (part3)

Pirates have been a part of the Florida Keys history with many of them landing, taking refuge, terrorizing it’s inhabitants to laying stake to their own self-proclaimed turf. So it’s no surprise that they’ve left a legacy of their antics behind as street names. Here’s just a few samples of what you’ll find along your travels up and down the Keys:

Spanish Main Drive – In the days of the Spanish New World Empire, the mainland of the North and South American continents enclosing the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico was referred to as the Spanish Main.

Cutthroat Drive – Pirates were often described as ruthless, merciless, fierce, intense, & aggressive giving them the term cutthroat.

Pirates Road – Simply sums it all up!

You can find all of these pirate related street names from Mile Marker 23.0 to 22.2 oceanside.

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Tomb or Shelter? Maybe It’s BOTH!

What in the world is this? Is it a tomb, hurricane shelter, storage shed or outhouse? 🙂 A Lignumvitae Key park ranger (as seen below) asked the tour group; “Does anyone have any idea what this is?” My hand went up instantly as I blurted out the answer!

Before the answer, here’s a descriptive sentence about Lignumvitae Key itself. Accessed by boat alone, this island sits only feet above sea-level, during any type of severe weather especially a hurricane the structure in question would be doomed. ANSWER: Though never used, it’s an underground hurricane shelter. Look closely at the door, built decades ago, it’s by no means weatherproof! Therefore the park ranger said that if it would’ve been used as a hurricane shelter it would’ve been flooded turning into a tomb for its occupants. That’s funny, it’s safer standing beside the hurricane shelter than being inside it! 🙂

Though not a free tour, you can find a catamaran tour boat company to take you to Lignumvitae Key at Robbie’s Marina at Mile Marker 77.5 on US-1 bayside.

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