Everglades in Florida! This has been a dream of mine to visit for ages. But have you ever looked at a map of Southern Florida? Well I have, many times, and I just can’t get over how large the Everglades are.
So my little problem is that my youngest son is only two years old. But the best tours to be had are for four and older, such as airboat and swamp buggy tours. Leaving me to wait a couple of years longer.
However, doing research I found the next best thing: The Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge on the northern side of the Everglades. I thought it would be a fun introduction to the area as we wait for my youngest to turn 4.
What To Do at Loxahatchee:
1. Visitors Center – This is the first thing you see when you arrive. If you have any questions make sure you approach a volunteer, they are always willing to help. It is also a good thing to spend some time at the center. Here they offer interactive and educational exhibits for kids and for adults too.
Some of the things you can learn about by seeing the exhibits are: The conservation efforts and objectives of the refuge, management activities, facts about the animals you can find while exploring the place and a virtual airboat tour, among others.
2. Cypress Swamp Trail / Boardwalk – This is a well marked wooden path that goes less than one mile through the swamp area. It is also the closest to the visitors center. There is also the option of taking a free tour around the place, all you have to do is ask if there are any scheduled on the time you plan on spending there.
For my family, the best option was to take just the walk because my boys would probably be too restless. It was great!
3. Wildlife – Since it is a wildlife refuge it is filled with animals of many species. The problem is that you won’t be able to see most of them. The good part is that this is not the case with birds, they aren’t shy at all.
Some lucky visitors, as ourselves, had the chance of running into an alligator. As you can imagine, this was the highlight of our trip! My oldest son was extremely excited to see a six-foot gator along the path enjoying a sun bath.
4. Walking and exploring – Exploring the park on your own is really easy, and you don’t have to be afraid about being lost as long as you follow the rails and roads. They are well marked, well maintained and even stroller/ wheelchair friendly.
5. Water fun – One of the great things about this park is its canoe trail. You can rent one of theirs or bring your own. We didn’t do this, it would have been complicated with my youngest boy, but it looked like a lot of fun.
My Take On It:
This was my first time in a swamp and it truly impressed me. Contrary to what people may think the place looked healthy and filled with life. My boys seemed to really like it too, I know this because they didn’t want to leave.
Important Info for Loxahatchee, Florida:
Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m
Address: 10216 Lee Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33473
Phone: (561) 734-8303
Cost: Automobile $5.00 / Pedestrian $1.00