Rita Kimmons Calls Out the Stingray Shuffle

You may never see Exhibit Guide Rita Kimmons do a two-step around the touch tank, but rest assured this long-time Florida Oceanographic Society volunteer has the moves to do it. Rita, who has given more than 500 volunteer hours since 2016, loves to dance. Lately it’s been country-style line dancing, but years ago she and her late husband Del founded the Sugar Sand Cloggers in Miami.

“Sugar Sand Cloggers celebrated bluegrass clogging, which grew out of Irish dancing, and has taps on your shoe toes and heels,” says Rita. “We got a lot of kids involved, and we had a lot of fun. When we moved up to West Palm Beach and Stuart, line dancing was more popular so we got into that. Jensen Beach Ballroom, Crystal Ballroom and Renegade’s in West Palm Beach are a ton of fun!”

Rita was born in Boston and moved to Florida with her family when she was six years old. After graduating from Miami Dade State College, she worked in the Coral Gables Police Department for ten years before she accepted a position with Florida Power & Light. Eventually, Rita got into nursing after earning an R.N. at Palm Beach State College. When she retired, she became the Development Assistant here at the Coastal Center part-time. “I was working and volunteering here at the same time and loved it,” says Rita. “When Del passed I took a break, but I was one of the first volunteers to come back when we reopened after the pandemic.”

“I really enjoy teaching people about the animals here and the importance of stewardship,” she adds. “I love seeing the guests get interested and excited about what we’re doing here. We need to get more people on board with helping this planet.”

When she’s not volunteering, Rita likes doing landscape and wildlife photography in the local parks. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family – her stepdaughter and two granddaughters and lots of cousins and nieces are nearby.

Rita Kimmons Snapshot
Alma maters: Miami Dade State College (Criminology); Barry University (Business Administration), Registered Nurse (Palm Beach State College)

Good eats: The Dolphin Bar

Down-time faves: Heartland (Netflix series), Where the Crawdads Sing, The Hunger Games book series, Divergent book series