There are so many wonderful things about the State of Florida and many of them are just plain free! On this site, I'll be exploring the free side of Florida as well as low cost options for your weekends or vacation. But because I don't want to steer you wrong, I'll post after I visit these places myself. Have a great time on the site and on your own adventures!

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Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Ft. Pierce, FL

Today's visit was to the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Ft. Pierce, FL, which is on the East coast of Florida just south of Vero Beach. The Institute is a part of Florida Atlantic University, although it started as it's own place.

When driving to the entrance off US-1, the first thing you see is a giant set of jaws that, although replicas, are of the humongous Megalodon shark. Holy moley! I could quite nearly have driven my car through them. Granted, I have a small car. But the truth is, this set of chompers was taller than a full sized SUV.

Once you are done marveling at the size of the jaws outside (just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water) you can enter the place through, well, the entrance. There's a small souvenir area to the right and an even smaller info center to the left. Keep moving forward and you'll enter a small rotunda, filled with information, fossils and specimens. Sunny was our fantastic guide and suggested we started with a five minute video in the theater to the left. The video briefly explained the history and purpose of the Institute and was followed up by another video about a dolphin named C6 (or C7, I forget which) whose skeleton is in the theater with you. Interesting story and I do recommend seeing them.

After the videos, we wandered through the exhibit area accompanied by Sunny who gave great explanations of the animals and creatures, both living and not, that are shown throughout. My favorite was the interesting tidbit of info regarding the whale tooth and the purchase of a bride in third world countries.

All in all, even though the Institute is a small place, I certainly do recommend a visit. The best part? Admission is FREE! To find more information on the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute please click the name or go to

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