Set­ting Records in the Sun­shine State

Travel Guide to Florida - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - BY KEVIN FRITZ

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.


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.


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.

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