Of Alligators, Hemingway, and Lincoln Assassins

As noted in my 2015 preview post, it’s time for some science traveling. First stop is up to my knees in alligators, some communing with the ghost (and drink) of Ernest Hemingway, and a visit to the home of four Lincoln assassination conspirators.

Yup, Florida.

Florida Keys

While I once gave a keynote lecture in Fort Lauderdale, I’ve somehow never made it into Miami. This trip will start with one afternoon and night in South Beach and Little Havana before heading out to Everglades National Park. The next two days will include some hiking, birding, touring, and other adventures in Shark Valley, the drive to Flamingo, and perhaps a slough or two. I’m sure there will be alligators, but I’m also hoping for a glimpse of the endangered Florida panther.


The next two days will include treks out to Biscayne National Park and Key Largo, the latter of which always reminds me of the classic movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is definitely on the list of activities, along with more birding and snorkeling.

And then on to Hemingway, which means Key West, of course. There will be plenty of stops on the smaller keys (and Big Pine Key), before reaching the end of the islands. Key West should give plenty of opportunity for viewing nature, not to mention viewing the nightlife along Duval Street.

Dry Tortugas

Ah, but this isn’t actually the end of the islands, is it? We’ll be boarding a float plane for the 70 mile flight over reefs, wrecks, and right whales to reach the Dry Tortugas National Park. Fort Jefferson, the park’s major feature, once held the four men convicted of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (the four that were not hung, obviously). I’ve even been assigned a project – take photos of the site from the air and land for the Lincoln Archives Digital Project.

I’ll likely take a lot of photos during this trip and will update from the road if possible. Look for a fuller story and photos (and videos) when I return.

David J. Kent is an avid science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, now available. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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  1. Pingback: Two Black Birds, But No Blackbirds | Science Traveler

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