VISITING WINDLEY KEY FOSSIL REEF
Florida Guide > Accommodation
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is located at mile marker 85. 5 on Windley Key. This is quite close to Islamorada.
This park is the site where the world renowned keystone was mined. This was discovered when Henry Flagler was building his railway down in this part of Florida. The railway and the station at Windley Key were built in the early twentieth century. This was vital to the movement of goods and people in this area of Florida.
They were using the keystone rocks literally as hard core to fill in the gap between what was 2 islands. They discovered that if they split the rocks cleanly it revealed a stunning stone that could be polished to provide an awesome finish.
For aroung half a century after the railroad was completed there was a flourishing business sending the stone all over America to be used in some prestigious locations including the New York Chapel.
The coral was formed some 100000 years ago and is one of the few places where you can see coral that is not actually underwater.
This is because the sea was some 300 feet higher than it is today and it is this natural phenomona that revealed the coral at land level.
First point of call will be the visitor centre and this is where you will find out about the history and geology of the area.
There are also some nature trails that together measure some mile and a half. These are formed of 5 separate trails so none are too demanding. Here you will be taken through the hardwood hammock that features here.
There are some 300 trees that flourish at this park and also a variety of wildlife including migrating birds in the seasons.
You have the opportunity to walk the quarry where the keystone was mined. This reveals cross sections of the ancient coral and fossilised coral animals. Also here you can see some of the original machinery used in the mining.
Best days to visit are friday, saturday and sunday when you can join the guided tour. These cost $2. 50 and start at 10. a. m. and also 2. p. m. Call 305 664 2540 for more details.
You can also self tour the park for $1. 50.
While you are in the area why not take in the dolphin show at the Theater of the Sea
Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park
P. O. Box 1052
Islamorada, Florida 33036
Citizen Support Organization
Friends of Islamorada Area State Parks, Inc.
P. O. Box 236
Islamorada, FL 33036
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