Setting Records in the Sunshine State
Not only is Florida a destination rich in history and the ideal fun getaway for the entire family, the Sunshine State is a hotbed for people—and even animals—who accomplish some really amazing feats. Records ranging from the courageous to the bizarre are continuously being set by land and by sea.
IN THE WATER
Diana Nyad, from Fort Lauderdale, is the only person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage. It took her 53 hours to swim from Havana to Key West. Even more amazing is that she accomplished her feat at age 63 on her fifth attempt; her first try was 35 years earlier.
Kelly Slater of Cocoa Beach is the most decorated professional surfer in the world, winning the World Surf League record 11 times. He is also the youngest and the oldest to win that title. He is a fan of Sebastian Inlet State Park on Florida’s east coast.
When in Florida, stop by and visit Snooty at the Parker Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton. At 69 years young—he was born in Miami in 1948—Snooty is the oldest living manatee on record in the world.
LOOK AT ME! AND ME! AND ME!
Sometimes pixie dust can be found just about anywhere in Florida. In 2015, Guinness World of Records certified that the 289 people dressed as Peter Pan in Seffner near Tampa was the largest gathering ever of its kind.
Every July in Key West, do a double take as more than 125 Ernest Hemingway wannabes flock to Key West, the most southeastern city in the United States, for the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest held at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, a favorite watering hole of the author when he lived here in the 1930s.
In Safety Harbor, located midway between Tampa and Clearwater, 168 bridesmaids stood by Tina Ackles’ side at her 2015 wedding held at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. It’s in the Guinness World of Records.
The Guinness World of Records also loves food and, it seems, so does Florida. The Orlando Culinary Academy holds the award for the largest crème brûlée in the world, weighing just under 1,600 pounds.
At the Everglades Cheese Cracker Festival in Everglades City, Cabot Creamery of Vermont fashioned the largest grilled cheese sandwich, measuring five by 10 feet and tipping the scales at 320 pounds.
At 496 pounds, the largest chocolate mousse, containing 108 pounds of chocolate and 66 pounds of butter, was whipped up at the Aventura Mall in Southeast Florida.
ABOVE: Cocoa Beach native, surfer Kelly Slater (USA) in action. LEFT: Hemingway Days, Key West.