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Florida Facts

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LA FLORIDA-"FEAST OF FLOWERS" DISCOVERED AND NAMED BY SPANISH EXPLORER PONCE DE LEON IN HIS QUEST FOR THE " FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH" IN 1513. FLORIDA BECAME A  U.S. TERRITORY IN 1821 AND IN 1846 WAS THE 25TH STATE ADMITTED TO THE UNION.  STATE BEVERAGE: ORANGE JUICE FROM ORANGES, NUMBER-ONE CASH CROP. FLORIDA PRODUCES ABOUT 75% OF U.S. ORANGES AND PROVIDES 40% OF THE WORLD'S SUPPLY

• STATE GEM: THE MOONSTONE BECAME OFFICIAL IN 1970, AFTER THE FIRST MOONWALK.
STATE SONG: STEPHEN FOSTER'S NOSTALGIC BALLAD "OLD FOLKS AT HOME",(SUWANNEE RIVER) BECAME OFFICIAL IN 1935. He never set foot in Florida and never saw the Suwanee River except on a map.  He and his brother were looking for the name of a river that would fit in the song he was writing, and they just went through the names on a map until they decided "Way down upon the S'wanee River" sounded best.
STATE ANIMAL:THE FLORIDA PANTHER, SELECTED BY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN 1982.
STATE BIRD: THE MOCKING BIRD BECAME OFFICIAL IN 1927.
STATE FLOWER: THE ORANGE BLOSSOM BECAME OFFICIAL IN 1909.
STATE TREE: THE SABAL PALM.
• FLORIDA'S NICKNAME: "THE SUNSHINE STATE". 
 FOURTH IN POPULATION AFTER CALIFORNIA, TEXAS AND NEW YORK
• TOTAL AREA  58,560 SQUARE MILES 22ND LARGEST U.S. STATE
• WIDTH EAST TO WEST- 361 MILES     NORTH TO SOUTH-447 MILES
• HIGHEST POINT- 345 FEET IN WALTON COUNTY- THE PANHANDLE
• AVERAGE ANNUAL TEMPERATURE- SUMMER:81.6(F)  WINTER 62.8(F)
• MORE THAN 11,000 MILES OF WATERWAYS, 663 MILES OF BEACHES, 2276 MILES OF TIDAL SHORELINE AND ABOUT
4500 ISLANDS LARGER THAN 10 ACRES

•  THE LARGEST OCCUPIED WOODEN STRUCTURE IN THE WORLD IS THE BELLEVIEW BILTMORE RESORT, BUILT IN 1897 AND LOCATED IN CLEARWATER.

•  FLORIDA IS THE NUMBER ONE PRODUCER OF WATERMELONS,WITH OVER 30 MILLION GROWN ANNUALLY. IN 1988 CLYDE BUMGARDNER OF LEVY COUNTY FLORIDA GREW A WATERMELON THAT WEIGHED 170 POUNDS, A POSSIBLE WORLD RECORD. 93% WATER,THEY COME FROM AFRICA, WHERE THEY ARE RAISED AS A WATER SOURCE.

 •  FLORIDA IS THE TOP TRAVEL DESTINATION IN THE WORLD, WITH NEARLY 77 MILLION VISITORS IN 2004.

 •  FLORIDA PRODUCES MORE CITRUS THAN ANY OTHER STATE. ALSO MORE TOMATOES, GREEN PEPPERS, WATERMELONS, SWEETCORN AND SUGAR THAN ANY OTHER STATE.

  THE ST. JOHN'S RIVER IS FLORIDA'S LONGEST  (310 MILES)  AND ONE OF THE FEW RIVERS IN THE UNITED STATES TO FLOW NORTH