• Population- 17,789,800
  • Capital- Tallahassee
  • Largest cities– Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa
  • Time zone- Eastern
  • Date of Admission to the Union- March 3, 1845
  • Slogan- In God We Trust
  • State website URL- www.myflorida.com

The Sunshine State defies its nickname: it is regularly named the wettest state in the Union. From spring through early fall almost every day in this sub-tropical climate is marked by a passing shower or thunderstorm, many heavy down pours. In fact thunderstorms are so prevalent that the number of lightning strikes regularly recorded are consistently higher in Florida than in any other state, which earns it the informal nickname: lightning capital of the U.S.

Florida is remarkable for its citrus crop, especially the Florida orange business. The state is without a doubt the major source for commercially processed orange juice, but also produces the largest crops of grapefruit and tangerines, as well. The other key economic feature is the overabundance of theme parks and amusement parks crowded into Central Florida, around Orlando.

The professional sports industry has made a significant impact on Florida. Countless pro athletes annually migrate to Florida each year--the harbinger of Spring Training season. Florida’s climate makes it the perfect early season environment. Florida also boasts at least a dozen of its own very popular sports teams.

Ironically enough one popular team, the Florida Panthers, was named for the state’s signature animal, the Florida panther. The species once moved in large numbers between sub-tropical forest and marshland, their preferred environments. But now the panther is seriously endangered in the state, mostly due to over-development and over-population.

A unique geographic ecosystem is the Everglades, a seasonally flooded marshy river that marks the movement of fresh floodwater from Lake Okeechobee to the coast, where it drains. The river through which the large volume of water must flow is a large and fragile ecosystem unlike any other. Certain species of flora and fauna have adapted to survival in the ebb and flow of the Everglades and conservationists work energetically to control the commercial growth that threatens the ecosystem. Most images of the Everglades show people gliding on airboats along stretches of flooded saw grass.