I spent part of the day visiting some random sights in the Florida Keys.  I drove past the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  I stopped at the “Community Butterfly Garden”   I did not see any butterflies, nor any crocodiles, but I did encounter many, many mosquitoes.  It was very unpleasant.  I didn’t stay long.

I continued on to Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park.  This park is surrounded by the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  Just like the Butterfly Garden, this park was infested with mosquitoes. I didn’t make it far before cutting my losses and going back to the car.  There were so many mosquitoes they didn’t seem fazed when I swatted at them.  Strength in numbers I guess.  I took a picture of the entrance.   It was about the only place where I was able to get free of the mosquitoes.

I next stopped at the Florida Keys Memorial in Islamorada.  Over 400 people lost their lives on September 2, 1935, many of them World War I veterans who were working on building the Overseas Highway.  These veterans were given jobs as a thank-you for serving in the war (which I’m sure in 1935 was much appreciated).

The memorial crypt contains the remains of many of those who perished here in that event.

The final stop of the day was the National Key Deer Refuge

You guessed it.  There are deer here.  I had to drive very slowly through the area because they were plentiful and not shy about walking in the road.  There were other forms of wildlife here as well.

The refuge is actually a small handful of disconnected sites throughout Big Pine Key and No Name Key.  I had to stop at the refuge headquarters (inside a strip mall of all places) to get a map.  This area was much more enjoyable since it wasn’t infested with mosquitoes like Crocodile Lake and Key Largo Hammock.  None of the trails are very long, but they are interesting.  Probably one of the “hidden gems” of the keys.

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