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Florida Key

Many visitors rent bicycles and explore the history and architecture of Old Town Key West. Walking tours, including a tour of the unusual Key West Cemetery, are available. The Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square is a daily spectacle for visitors and residents. Boat excursions and tours provide a great way to view Key West from the water. The Duval Street bar and restaurant district includes many different entertainment options, all within walking distance of each other. The Audubon House and Tropical Gardens is a museum dedicated to the art work of John James Audubon and history of Key West. This was founded by the Wolfson Family as they purchased the home of ship wrecking captain Geiger. John James Audubon painted many of the birds of Key West in this Garden. The Studios of Key West, founded in 2006 and based at the island’s historic Armory building, was established as a new model for an artist community. It comprises a dozen working studio spaces, a main exhibition hall, a sculpture garden, and several
adjoining residences and cottages. Its programming continues to grow and includes an extensive series of creative workshops, free humanities lectures, cultural partnerships, and innovative ideas for artists and audiences. The Florida Keys Council of the Arts serves as the primary cultural umbrella for Monroe County, from Key Largo to Key West. A non-profit local arts agency, it makes grants, operates the Monroe County Art in Public Places program, sponsors seminars, and manages the on-line cultural calendar for the region. It also manages the County’s Tourism Development Council arts marketing
grants and serves as a leading advocate for cultural tourism. West and rehearse at The CoffeeMill Dance Studio in Old Town. The Tennessee Williams Theatre is a performing arts center, a civiccenter, and a community center. The Key West Botanical Forest and Garden is an excellent, frost-free arboretum and botanical garden containing a number of “champion tree” specimens. Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden is a one-acre (4,000 m²) garden resembling a lush, predominantly green rainforest. It’s an exhibit of nature’s artistry in a woodland garden. The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory features a 5,000-square-foot glass
domed tropical butterfly habitat. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum showcases gold, silver, and treasure recovered from shipwrecks around the world. Some tourists mingle with the locals, shop, and dine at the Key West Historic Seaport at the Key West Bight. The Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum preserves the history of the Key West Lighthouse, built in 1847. Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway’s former home is now open to the public as the Ernest Hemingway House, and is populated by as many as 60 descendants of his famous polydactyl cats. PrideFest is seven days of events, presented by the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Key West during the first week in June.
The schedule includes the Pride Follies talent extravaganza; contests to select a Mr., Ms. and Miss PrideFest; parties; a tea dance; and the PrideFest Parade down Duval Street. In 1979 the Key West Tourist Development Association, Inc., started Fantasy Fest to attract tourists at the traditionally slow time of Halloween, which is at the end of the hurricane season. Fantasy Fest regularly attracts approximately 80,000 people to the island and has become a huge success. In June 2006 the Key West Gay & Lesbian Museum opened at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center at 513 Truman Avenue. Featured exhibits include a Tennessee Williams typewriter as well as an extensive collection of memorabilia and papers of Richard A. Heyman.

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