TALLAHASSEE — In honor of Veterans Day, there will be free entry for everyone Tuesday at Weeki Wachee State Park and all other state parks, excluding Skyway Fishing Pier. The Florida Park Service encourages residents and visitors to celebrate veterans and active military personnel by bringing them to one of the 171 state parks and trails to enjoy outdoor activities.
Shannon Tooker, a mermaid from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, performs for children.. FILE
“This Veterans Day, I encourage all Florida families to get out and enjoy Florida’s natural treasures at our wonderful state parks,” Gov. Rick Scott said. “We also honor our veterans and thank them for their service and sacrifice they gave to protect our state and nation.”
Florida State Parks also preserve an abundance of historical and cultural sites that honor the nation’s fallen service members. In Apalachicola, visitors can pay respect to Vietnam veterans at Orman House Historic State Park’s Three Servicemen Statue, a bronze replica of the Vietnam memorial statue in Washington, D.C.
“Veterans Day is a perfect opportunity to visit Florida’s award-winning state parks,” said Donald Forgione, director of the Florida Park Service. “Spend the day hiking, biking or picnicking with a veteran — and most importantly, thank them for their service.”
More than 27.1 million people visited Florida’s state parks and trails between July 1, 2013, and June 30, generating nearly $2.1 billion in direct economic impact. In the year following the state parks system winning a third National Gold Medal in Excellence, record-breaking numbers of visitors were enjoying Florida’s natural treasures and outdoor areas.
For more information on state parks in your area, visit the Florida State Parks website or download the Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger app, which is available on iTunes and Android Market by searching “Florida Pocket Ranger” and is identified under ParksByNature Network.