As Key West prepares to celebrate its June 2-6 Pride festivities, what does Pride — or the concept of pride — mean to island residents? An acknowledgement of life's beautiful diversity, a reminder to use the past to build a better future, and joy for the Key West community’s caring nature are among the answers provided.
The Aquaplex (formerly known as the Aqua Bar and Nightclub), located in the heart of Key West’s LGBTQ entertainment district, has debuted a new look and enhancements. Along with the addition of an on-site Hawaiian-themed restaurant in its open-air backside bar and patio area, it now has five unique venues to delight patrons.
As executive director of the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden, former ballet danseur Misha McRAE is preparing to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the 15-acre subtropical treasure. Described as the continental United States’ only frost-free tropical forest and botanical garden, the enchanted spot has been his passion since the late 1990s.
Six state parks in the Upper Florida Keys offer some of the Keys’ most scenic wide-open spaces for social distancing, solitude and outdoor recreational activities like hiking, swimming, snorkeling and paddling. Acclaimed among the region's prime natural attractions, these parks are rich with Florida Keys history, upland and coastal landscapes and underwater life.
In his previous life, Mike Goldberg was a Bear Stearns money manager. But things change, and a year ago, he and marine biologist Kylie Smith, a Florida Wildlife Commission scientist, spearheaded the founding of I.CARE — the Keys’ only Islamorada-based reef restoration organization — partnering with Mote Marine Laboratory and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
Kristie Killam’s love of nature is an underlying theme in her life and career. As park ranger for the Florida Keys’ four national wildlife refuges, Kristie oversees the refuges’ Nature Center, opened last fall, and the nonprofit Florida Keys Wildlife Society “friends” group of volunteers and partners. She’s also a skilled nature photographer.
There is no other acrobatic fish on the inshore fishing scene that’s more coveted by anglers than the tarpon. Known for their high-leaping ability, these “silver kings” are powerful and tenacious. It’s sometimes easy to get them to bite a bait, but often they have lockjaw and can frustrate anglers and captains alike.
Recently Key West city workers installed four permanent rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of Duval and Petronia streets, the heart of the island’s LGBTQ entertainment district (affectionately nicknamed the Pink Triangle). The crosswalks replaced those installed in 2015, and Key West’s Mayor Teri Johnston explains why they symbolize the community’s all-inclusive spirit.
Artists are drawn to the Florida Keys because of the islands’ deeply-hued, richly colorful natural scenery and an intensively creative spirit that infuses the local culture. Artistry flourishes throughout the island chain, and the winter season brings unusual new ways for aficionados to enjoy it — including enticing art strolls, classes and intriguing experiences.
Eager to escape yet another cold grey winter? Temps in the Florida Keys are pleasantly mild, with sunny skies and warm island breezes just perfect for a satisfying late-winter or spring getaway. And the Keys have some breathtaking ultra-luxury oceanfront resorts that are ready to pamper visitors with subtropical sun and serenity.