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“Great park, but snorkeling didn't meet my expectations.”

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
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$198.99*
and up
2-Day Miami South Beach Adventure from Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: A beautiful state park that features land and undersea adventures.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Palm Bay, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great park, but snorkeling didn't meet my expectations.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

It's hard to live up to my expectations and today was no different. The main part of my keys vacation was to go snorkeling in the coral reefs of John penn park and my discovery channel influenced ideas of what a coral reef should look like killed my visit to mangrove land. There were no colorful fish or anemone covered coral. The park itself was beautiful and well kept. A fishermans heaven!

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank Barbara P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
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4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Safe Diving Operation, Great Dive Sites”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

We've dove on this charter several times over the last few years and always have a great time. If you are new to diving or new to ocean diving, this is where you should go to see how a dive operation should be conducted with safety in mind. When you travel, it is important to have already experienced dive boat safety standards first hand so you will know immediately if a scuba charter is keeping your safety in mind and ensuring that you have a great time on your dive. I am able to have a much better time on my dives knowing that I do not have to worry about the dive boat being a fishy operation or not having experienced crew or proper working gear. The dive sites in Key Largo are fantastic and luckily you don't have to go deep to see the "aquarium" of marine life. We've seen turtles, rays, sharks, eel, octopus, and countless fish both large and small here. Sit back, relax and enjoy your dive.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank PaulaFudge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great for kids to learn snorkeling. Too bad adults don't know the rules.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

Basic snorkeling rule....DO NOT STAND ON THE CORAL!!! Its only the adults that stand out in the middle of the 4-6 foot water and shout back at family or friends to come see the fish, but you just ruined the spot! This is really a great place to start the kids snorkeling but not enough focus is given to not disturbing the habitat. I highly suggest the wet suit if its cold. Really helped a lot.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank Dave W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville
Level Contributor
95 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Busy, but nice!!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

VERY POPULAR park down in Key Largo. Line to get in to park, parking becomes issue on certain days. Lots of kayakers, boaters, etc. We went on a day where the wind was kinda fierce, and the water cooler than what we wanted. Snorkeled at both beaches At far beach, snorkeling was better, although nothing fantasitc unless willing to go over the small breakwater wall ( bring your diver down flag!!) Wish we had more time to hike trails and explore but we were only there a couple of hours. Visitors center had neat small aquarium areas which was fun for kids, concession/gift shop literally had line out the door!!! We will definitely go again, hopefully when not so crowded when we have more time.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jay1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Snorkeling and Sharks at the Reef”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2013

Pennekamp was an amazing place to visit. Lots of things to do. The reef snorkeling was fantastic. Me and my 14 year old nephew were snorkeling out on the reef with a group and we saw all sorts of beautiful marine wildlife including a mid sized Bull Shark. It was patrolling the area and didn't pose a threat. However, on its second pass, my nephew panicked a bit and started kicking his fins at the surface frantically swimming away. That in turn attracted the shark towards us and it was a little scary to say the least. It turned away from us but a word of advice. If you or others in your party see a shark... DO NOT FREAK OUT. Remain calm... keep your eye on it and don't splash around swimming away. Just keep your cool and smoothly swim away. I wish I would have told my nephew this before getting in the water but its a lesson learned. I don't write this to scare anyone or discourage the reef trip... just a word to the wise. The tour operators should probably advise people before going in the water how to behave when a shark is sighted. Just an FYI.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
13 Thank Todd S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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