Nature February 19, 2016
15 Of The Most Enchanting Man Made Wonders In Florida
We all know there are plenty of natural wonders in Florida, like our crystal clear springs and pristine beaches, but what about man-made wonders? Our landmarks may not be as well-known as some others, but they’re very unique. From towers, forts, mansions and even a monastery, here are some of the most incredible man-made wonders in Florida:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Overseas Highway, Florida Keys
The Overseas Highway runs 113 miles through the Keys. It's surrounded by bright green water and islands for miles, and runs alongside the historic bridges that were its prototype. It was designated an All-American Road in 2009, the highest honor given by the National Scenic Byways program.
2. Villa Vizcaya, Miami
This European-inspired estate was the winter property of agricultural industrialist John Deering. Today, it is a museum full of art and antiques, as well as a National Historic Landmark. But visitors love it just as much for its 10 acres of beautiful gardens on the Biscayne Bay.
3. Bok Tower, Lake Wales
Bok Tower Gardens in Central Florida is right out of a fairy tale. The 205-foot tower is not only a work of art, it holds some of the world's finest carillon bells. The surrounding gardens are lush and romantic. It's definitely in the running for best place to propose in Florida.
4. Cà d'Zan,The Ringling Museum, Sarasota
This Mediterranean Revival mansion was built to serve as the winter home of circus magnate John Ringling. It is now part of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
5. Ponce de Leon Inlet Light, south of Daytona
This lighthouse stands 175 feet tall, making it the tallest lighthouse in Florida and one of the tallest in the country.
6. Henry B. Plant Museum (Tampa Bay Hotel), Tampa
This stunning example of Moorish Revival architecture was built by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant in 1888. It had over 500 rooms, which were the first in Florida to have telephones and electric lights. It is now part of the University of Tampa campus and houses a museum about tourism in the Gilded Age.
7. Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, Key West
This unfinished island fort sits about 70 miles west of Key West, so you can visit this and the Overseas Highway on the same trip. The masonry plus the beauty of its natural surroundings is touched with a haunting quality you won't soon forget.
8. Flagler Museum/Whitehall, Palm Beach
This museum is actually a 55-room Beaux-Arts-style mansion, built by oil tycoon and Florida-lover Henry Flagler. This jaw-dropping historic home is full of stunning artwork and antique furniture you probably don't get to see much. Unless you live in a mansion, of course.
9. Venetian Pool, Coral Gables
This is the country's largest freshwater swimming pool and the only swimming pool on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in the '20s in a coral rock quarry in the style of Venice, Italy. It' is truly a swimming experience unlike any other.
10. Coral Castle, Homestead
Coral Castle is a monolithic structure made to look like a castle, complete with huge furniture and sculptures. It was constructed using tons of coral-formed limestone. The weird thing is that how it was built remains a mystery to this day. Its creator claimed to have sourced, moved and carved all of the giant stones by himself.
11. Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunellon
This park in Dunellon has been drawing visitors for decades with its crystal blue waters. The waterfalls here are man-made and hark back to its days as a location for phosphate mining.
12. Ancient Spanish Monastery, North Miami Beach
How does a 12th-century Spanish monastery end up in Florida? Well, it was purchased in the 1920s by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, whose plans of moving it to California were sidetracked by shipping complications. It ended up in storage for decades until it was purchased again in the '60s and moved piece by piece to North Miami Beach. That's how.
13. Florida Southern College, Lakeland
This college campus in Lakeland features the largest collection of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's work in one place.
14. Flagler College (Ponce de León Hotel), St. Augustine
This landmark was build by oil tycoon Henry Flagler in 1887. Its ornate interior features carvings, hand-painted murals and Tiffany windows.
15. Walt Disney World
If you've ever been to one of the parks at this huge complex in Central Florida, you have to admit it was an impressive feat of imagination and construction.
What did you think of this list? Are there any other man-made wonders you think belong on the list? Please share your comments with us below.