Florida Has its Own Area 51 and it is Fascinating

When you think of Area 51, your mind likely conjures images of a secretive military base in Nevada rumored to harbor aliens and UFOs. Yet, did you know Florida boasts its own enigmatic counterpart? Meet the Avon Park Air Force Range, nestled in Polk and Highlands counties, approximately 100 miles (161 kilometers) south of Orlando.

Covering a sprawling 106,000 acres (429 square kilometers) of land and 82,000 acres (332 square kilometers) of water, this remote locale serves as a training, testing, and research hub for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marine Corps. Beyond its military function, it teems with wildlife, including alligators, panthers, bears, and bald eagles. However, what truly captivates is its aura of secrecy, history of peculiar events, and haunting mysteries.

UFO Sightings

The Avon Park Air Force Range has long been a hotbed for UFO sightings, attracting attention since the 1950s. Military personnel, civilians, and even astronauts have reported encountering unidentified flying objects hovering above the area. In 1957, Air Force pilots witnessed a luminous orange disc-shaped object darting across the range at remarkable speeds.

Astronaut Gordon Cooper claimed to have spotted a greenish UFO landing while piloting a jet in 1966, only to have his report met with denial by base authorities. In 1978, civilian pilot Ed Walters alleged encountering a massive triangular UFO emitting a beam of light that levitated his aircraft. Pursued by military aircraft, Walters recounted being subjected to Air Force interrogation. These incidents merely scratch the surface of documented UFO encounters, many cataloged by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), which maintains a chapter in Florida.

Paranormal Activity

Adding to its mystique, tales of ghostly apparitions and supernatural phenomena abound within the Avon Park Air Force Range. Among these legends, one recounts a spectral train haunting the area, believed to be the remnant of a World War II prisoner transport attacked by enemy planes. Locals claim to have witnessed the phantom train’s eerie nocturnal passages, viewing it as an ominous harbinger.

Another legend speaks of a B-17 bomber that crashed in 1944, its crew perishing and the aircraft buried beneath the sand, yet allegedly haunting the region to this day. Reports of encounters with these and other paranormal occurrences have drawn the interest of investigators like Greg Jenkins, a former Air Force officer and founder of the Florida Paranormal Research Foundation.


The Avon Park Air Force Range stands as a realm of intrigue and fascination, where military operations intersect with the unexplained. It’s a place where UFOs roam the skies and ghostly apparitions wander the land. While reminiscent of Area 51, it possesses its own distinct character and allure. For the intrepid and curious, it beckons as Florida’s own enigmatic enclave—a site ripe for exploration and discovery.

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