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Mallory Square - Some Interesting Places to Visit - Orlando / Florida Guide

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According to legend, ‘once Key West sand gets in your shoes, you’ll return again and again’ and that is certainly true of people like President Harry S Truman, and Ernest Hemmingway, who both lived here, and fell in love with its quaint charms and laid-back atmosphere. It has a certain appeal that is difficult to resist, and we have certainly enjoyed all our visits to Key West. It is a fascinating place, but the trouble is, that you will have difficulty deciding which one of the dozens of interesting museums and places of interest to visit. There are so many to choose from that you are bound to find something which will enthral and entertain you.

Mallory Square, which is located on the old waterfront between Whitehead and Duval streets, is the hub of Key West, and here you will find many attractions:

Key West Aquarium

This small aquarium has displays of the indigenous sea creatures of Key West. There are daily feedings of sharks and turtles, and you can enjoy getting close to sea life in the Touch Tank, where you can see and feel hermit crabs, conchs, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. There is a variety of fish to see, including sharks, moray eels, grouper, barracuda, tarpon, parrotfish and numerous tropical fish. If you are brave enough you can even pet a shark.

Adults $8

Children $4

Sponge Market and Museum

Key West once had a flourishing trade in natural sponges. Today you can choose from unique souvenirs and gifts, such as model ships, lighthouses, and reproduction bottles. There is also a collection of local art, maritime items and shipwreck treasure and jewellery.

Shell Warehouse

As an avid collector of shells wherever I find a beach, the Shell Warehouse is always first on my list of places to go. After every trip I like to examine the shells that I have collected on the way, and they bring back many happy memories of walking along a sun-kissed beach. However, it is always great to be able to purchase some of the more exotic shells which are less easy to find.

If you like collecting shells then this fascinating warehouse holds thousands of unusual and rare shells, as well as jewellery etc. It was originally the ice house belonging to Asa Tift, and was built in 1851, one of the first buildings in Key West.

Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden

Situated in front of the Waterfront Playhouse, and close to the Key West Chamber of Commerce, this sculpture garden opened in September 1997. Within this garden you will find 36 cast bronze busts of the men and women who have had a great impact on Key West. This unusual garden is being funded by people buying a brick which will make up the ‘Walkway of History.’ Each brick can be engraved to carry a message to future generations, and if you purchase and donate bricks as a family or group of friends they will be placed side by side. It is a lasting tribute to a friend or relative, and will remain here in this special garden for you to revisit in the future. It is an interesting concept, and one you might like to be part of. The busts commemorate such people as Henry M Flagler, the pioneer of the railways who brought the railroad to Key West, Ernest Hemmingway, the well-known author, Asa Tift, and President Harry S Truman, to name but a few.

Key West Shipwreck Historeum

The history of Key West is very much based on shipwrecks, and this museum will take you back in time to the Key West of 1856, and the time when wreckers earned their fortunes by salvaging cargoes from sailing ships which perished on the treacherous coral reefs which surround the area. Using actors, film, laser technology and artefacts brought up from the wreck of the Isaac Allerton, which sank in 1856, this museum tells the story of how the early pioneers made their living from the misfortune of others.

The Museum opens every day and adults cost $8, whilst children aged 4-12 are $4. Children under the age of 4 are free.

Key West Arts Center

The beautiful white building, with its overhanging veranda, which houses the Key West Arts Centre, was constructed in the 1850’s and was used as a grocery store. Today, it is an artist’s co-op with a variety of art produced by local artists, and is worth a visit.

Conch Train

A trip to Key West would not be complete without taking this 90 minute ride around all the sights, on this small and colourful train. With its fascinating and informative commentary, it is an ideal way to sit back and relax, and see everything there is to see. It makes for a pleasant respite from the often tropical temperatures.

Key West Conch Fritter Stand

There is food in abundance in Key West, with every sort of restaurant possible. The Conch Fritter Stand is just one place to try these local delicacies, but you can also savour delicious ice cream at the Juice Bar, or maybe Cuban cuisine at one of the many eateries.

As you can see, Mallory Square, alone, will keep you occupied, but when the sun goes down it comes into its own. Stay, if you can, for the nightly Sunset Celebration, with artists, craftsmen, performers and food purveyors. But the one thing you will not forget is a stunning Key West sunset, as the day draws to a close.

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Page added on: 9 October 2006
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