Coral Castle


Isn't this landscape fabulous? It's just so full of vibrant, crisp scenery! As you can tell, I'm being a tad sarcastic. This is what Florida does best: bland, ugly vegetation. Just a bunch of grass, weeds, and the occasional tall bush. This is at the very tip of Florida, on the way to the Keys, though the entirety of the Everglades, and most central Florida looks very similar, except you add a bit more ugly "trees".

When I saw this, I thought it was pretty funny. Unfortunately, you can't really make out the two green signs as well as I had hoped. Damn scanners. Well, for your enjoyment, the first one says "Dade Correctional Institution," and the one after that says "Everglades Alligator Farm." I guess that's where the naughty prisoners go. Probably a lot cheaper than warming up Ol' Sparky.

10! Yeah, right. Maybe back in 1920, but we had to pay $8! What a scam.

Ed Leedskalnin, the creator of "Coral Castle" (which isn't actually a castle, to our dismay), decided to leave a few words for visitors about his humble abode.

We saw this sign, and assumed it was free-range on all the sculptures. Only after climbing over everything did we find out that we were absolutely NOT permitted to climb on anything.

Here you can see a pretty good scope of his rather bizarre courtyard. Ed bought an acre of land in the 1920's or so, dug up the ground and found a coral quarry. He then began to carve all of these things, by himself at night, so noone could observe how he did it. He also completely moved the whole thing by himself onto moving trucks, and unloaded it again. Noone knows how. Crazy Ed.

Here's me perched in Ed's unusual throne. Not unusual, mind you, because it's made out of coral and 10 feet off the ground, but because it is a ROCKING CHAIR. Yeah, that was scary: leaning back, getting comfortable, and this huge piece of coral grinds and tilts back--I thought I was going to fall into some Coral Castle Death Pit™.

This is Seth, myself, and Sean doing what all the signs at the entrance expressly forbid. Makes for much better pictures than just standing below them.

Another pic of Sean, Joey and myself perched atop what looks like Saturn. The camera is zoomed, but we're at least 15 feet off the ground, and there's nothing but chunks of coral below us, and a 20 foot drop behind us. Also, that Saturn isn't a nice cute little sphere, it's just the front half of one, so there's almost no space whatsoever to sit on. It did make for a great view, however.

As all short-statured men, Ed loved him some tall, phallic statues.

Here's a funny-looking little pineapple. I didn't know they got this tiny; it's only about the size of my fingertip.

After climbing up the stairs to see the room Ed used to sleep in (which was altogether tiny and cluttered with chairs that looked like some sort of medieval torture device), we began to stroll along the 10' wall surrounding the plaza. It was at this point that the guy in the white shirt pointing at us let us know that we were NOT supposed to be up there. I guess he was too busy boozing earlier when we crawled all over the statues themselves to say anything, but god forbid we set foot on a relatively safe wall.

Oh, come now. Don't tell me you'd never stop to eat at a road-side shack like this. Ok, fine, neither would I. But it was getting late, and we didn't feel like driving another 30 minutes to get to a better restaurant, so we made do with the greasy tourist trap known as the "Crack'd Conch." The people were nice, the food was... not, but it was a good experience we'll all remember.

Here's being bored and trying to finish a roll of film for the 2-hour drive back home.