Guide To Key West
Here are some of the great things that are available for your enjoyment during your day at Key West, whether as part of your Adventure (Keys Adventure, Sea Exploring and Fishing Adventure) or with your unit before or after your adventure. You will have a limited amount of time, so you should choose the things that appeal to you most.
MALLORY SQUARE AREA
The Shipwreck Museum, at 1 Whitehead St., is a fun, fact-filled museum that will give you a little bit of background to Key West through the use of interesting displays, skits, and video. Afterwards, you can climb the observation tower and get a great view of the city and waters surrounding the port. Half-price admission for Scouts. Allow one hour.
Key West Aquarium, 1 Whitehead St. Go by and ask when the next feeding is, and plan to attend at that time. If possible, attend the earliest feeding around 2 p.m., as they are more active then. Half-price admission for Scouts. Allow one hour.
Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum, 200 Green St. Here, you can view a video, and then go through the museum and see some of the treasures and artifacts from the Spanish galleon “Atocha.” This is of special interest to most of the Scuba crews. Another great tour. Allow one hour.
The old Custom House. It now houses the Cultural Museum that features different exhibits weekly. Have a look in the window to see if there is anything going on that may interest you. Be sure to look at the wonderful stone work. The bricks were all imported.
Across Front Street, you can find the Kino Sandal Factory, where you can buy handmade Key West sandals for about $10 in several styles and colors.
WHITEHEAD AND DUVAL STREETS
Take a stroll down Whitehead Street, and you will find the Audubon House where John Audubon painted. There is a garden and house tour available. A great historical site for anyone into gardening and bird watching. Allow one hour.
The Truman Annex is right across the way. Stroll in and follow the signs to the Little Whitehouse. Harry Truman spent a great deal of his presidency here and even petitioned Congress to move the White House to Key West. Obviously he failed. You can take the paid tour of the house, but the two rooms adjacent to the gift shop are open to the public for free and have a lot of interesting info. There are newspaper articles and pictures all harking back to Truman’s presidency. Half-price admission for Scouts. Allow 45 minutes.
The Key West Lighthouse Museum, 938 Whitehead St. You can check out the museum and then climb to the top of the lighthouse itself. Again, be sure to ask for a Scout discount. Allow 45 minutes.
By walking through the old naval base quarters, you can reach Fort Zachary Taylor, a very interesting old Civil War fort that is now a state park. Walk on the ramparts, inspect the huge cannon, and view interesting artifacts in the small museum. There is also an excellent beach park in this area. Allow one hour.
Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center, 35 East Quay Road, is near Fort Zachery Taylor. This center is FREE and air-conditioned. You will experience the natural Florida Keys on land and in the water. Allow one hour.
Head back over to Duval Street, and at the corner of Duval and Fleming, you’ll see the La Concha Hotel. Go in, locate the elevators, and you can take a ride up to “The Top” (TT on the panel). This is one of the best overviews of the island of Key West, and it’s free. Can you find the Key West International Airport? Look for the control tower. Walk all the way around and see the whole island. Allow 15 minutes.
SCHOONER WHARF AREA
Train buffs may want to visit the Henry Flagler Railroad Museum on Caroline Street. It’s near the east end of the wharf past the schooners and the Waterfront Market. Allow 30 minutes.
In the same general vicinity, is the Turtle Kraals Museum. It is on the wharf behind the restaurant of the same name. It is a small building with pictures and info about the turtle canning industry in Key West. On occasion, they have live baby sea turtles on site. Allow 20 minutes.
Nearby in the Waterfront Market building is the Reef Relief Environmental Center, 201 William St. Inside you can learn about our efforts to preserve the coral reef and purchase a number of attractive gifts for your family.
Walking west along the wharf toward downtown, you will come across several historical ships. You can actually take a ride on any of them for a price. Many companies in the past seasons have offered the tours at reduced rates to the Scouts.
The Conch Tour Train and Old Town Trolley are two ways to get to see a lot of Key West that you might not see if you were on foot. The tours take you around the island, and you can disembark and re-board at several places along the route. The driver will give a great history lesson and point out to you many of the interesting and little-known facts about Key West and its past. The tour is about $25. The time for the tour can vary according to where you get off and back on, so ask your driver if you want to know about the length of the actual tour.
You can also take a ride around the island on any of several city mini bus routes. These are comfortable, have great air conditioning and allow you to see most of town and the island. $1 per person.
Be sure to be back down at Mallory Square at least an hour before sunset to see the spectacle that occurs every evening at that time. The Sunset Festival is a nightly happening with street performers, food vendors, and even flying cats! Be sure to walk all the way down over the foot bridge behind the aquarium to see all of the acts. You don’t want to miss Dominique and his Flying Housecats!
We recommend that you eat dinner early in the summer and late in the winter so as to be at Mallory Square about one hour before sunset for the Sunset Festival. Here are a few Scout-friendly restaurants:
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, 500 Duval Street: Reasonable prices, good “cheeseburgers in paradise.”
Fogarty’s on Duval Street: Great food in an outdoor atmosphere where all the action is.
Rum Barrel: Attached to Pirates Soul Museum. Sandwiches and burgers.
Conch Republic : Great seafood, but rather pricey.
Half Shell Raw Bar on the Bight: Good choice for reasonably priced seafood. Very casual, able to seat large groups, no reservations taken.
Turtle Kraals on the Bight: Upscale version of Half Shell, a little more gourmet, higher prices, owned by the same people. Again, no reservations, and a Scout discount is possible.
Waterfront Market on the Bight: Best deli sandwiches and upscale deli delights at reasonable prices. Eat upstairs in air conditioning at the Cyber Café.
Key West Infomation
Keys and Fishing Adventure Crews and Sea Exploring Crews
Crews participating in these adventures will have a chance to explore the unique and historical town of Key West. Literature about Key West and its attractions are available when you check in, or contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce for information so you can plan your day ahead of time.
You will travel to Key West in a bus or van provided by Sea Base (Sea Exploring crews will be docking in a local marina). Your crew will be dropped off near Mallory Square and you will be given instructions as to when and where to meet for the return trip that evening. Once you are all back aboard, we’ll head North to base.
Crew Conduct in Key West
- Shoes and shirts are to be worn at all times.
- The buddy system is a must, and is required by Sea Base while exploring Key West.
- There is no renting of jet skis or scooters and no para-sailing while in Key West.
FOR SAILING CREWS DOCKED IN KEY WEST
- When using marina facilities, leave areas clean – cleaner than before you arrived, if necessary.
- Do not use the grill on board while at dock; use shore-side charcoal grills on marina grounds.
- Fish only at designated pier, and not off the boat.
- Do not board other boats in the marina.
- Please respect other marina guests. Keep noise level down and not rough play on the docks.
- Scouts must be with adult leaders if out after dark and return to the marina no later than 9:45 p.m.
- Curfew is 10 p.m. Captains, leaders and Scouts must be aboard by 10 p.m. Evening showers and phone calls must be finished before curfew.
Emergency Phone Numbers:
- Florida Sea Base Program office (Sea Exploring) 305-664-5627
- Brinton Environmental Center (Keys Adventure / Fishing Adventure) 305-393-1073
- After-hours emergency phone (Duty Officer) 305-664-7766
Reminder to Adults of crews visiting Key West:
Although you are not at Sea Base or the Brinton Environmental Center, this is still a Scouting function and there is no place for alcohol in the Boy Scouts of America. If you choose to do so, you will be asked to leave with out any refund. This may compromise the “two-deep” leadership in your crew.
Key West has many beneficial opportunities for Scouts, but it also has temptations as well. You know your crew: if you feel your Scouts will be tempted, please accompany them, otherwise, groups of three (3) or more are preferred, while two is the absolute minimum. You, not the captain or mate are responsible for your crew while ashore in Key West. If you have any problems please notify your Sea Base contact immediately. Please have an enjoyable time visiting this colorful and historical city.