When you think of the Everglades in Florida do you think of alligators, giant snakes and pine forests? You aren’t far off, throw in some mangroves and wild birds and you have a pretty accurate picture of the Everglades. The UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve contains more than a million acres of protected wetlands with a diverse ecosystem. Here are some of the things you can see while you are there.
Alligators and Crocodiles
The Everglades contains lots of different birds and animals but let’s face it, people come here for the alligators and crocodiles. This is the only place in the world where you will see these modern day dinosaurs living side by side in the same habitats. Remember this is their home and you can regularly see both alligators and crocodiles sauntering across the road without a care in the world. Keep your distance these animals aren’t’ cute nor are they friendly. You can also check out some of the restaurants around the park and try some alligator.
There are all kinds of organized activities that allow you to explore the park safely, you can do more in Florida than just lay on the beach. There is the Anhingan Trail, this will give you the chance to see and take pictures of the wildlife. There are other hikes you can do too so pick the one that suits your physical ability. Florida is sunny and hot so bring along plenty of water and sunscreen.
You can try biking through the park too but the one activity that you should absolutely try is an airboat ride. These are flat bottom boats with giant propeller engines on the back that skim across the water of the Everglades. You get a great view of the terrain and all the wildlife that lives in the park.
Protecting South Florida
The ecosystem that you find in the Everglades National Park is what you used to find all over South Florida before urbanization and human development. It needs to be protected as it is what purifies and provides the drinking water for the area. It helps preserve the region against the many storm surges that batter South Florida each year. It is integral to the identity of South Florida yet despite that it is still facing pressure from pollution and population growth. The next time you are down here soaking up the sun take a day and explore the park and appreciate the natural beauty of South Florida.