In previous posts, we already talked about the Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreation Area, which has an intense concentration of wildlife. This former sprawling estate has been converted and divided into 4 different eco-zones. You can rent a canoe for a mile-long ride down a freshwater lagoon or simply try your luck fishing at the seawall. For horticultural enthusiasts, two short trails are planted with the local vegetation. Who knows? Along the way one or several of the 200 bird species may accompany you along the way with their remarkable songs. There is also a paved park road for wheeled visitors in skates or bicycles.
The Chapel Trail Park Nature Preserve covers a vast expanse of 450 acres. Its most prominent feature is the wetland ecosphere, providing an interesting first-hand experience of how this delicate environment works. The almost-hidden lives of birds, deer, marsh rabbits, alligators, other reptiles and fish are all intertwined in a critical balance. This preserve brings home the point of how important it is for all of Florida – and the rest of the country – to safeguard this natural balance. Although there is no admission fee, canoe rentals are $7 per hour all the way to $25 for the whole day.
As one of the oldest botanical gardens in Florida, the Flamingo Gardens has more open exhibits of plants and local wildlife, most notable among which are,of course, the pink flamingos in their elegant bright pink plumage. Its 60 acres house more that 3000 tropical to subtropical species. Flamingo Gardens is built around nature’s own bounty, and features one of the remaining natural and untouched old jungle growth in South Florida. These include some of the oldest trees in the area, including a “unique hammock” of 2-century-old oaks. It’s unique Wray Home, the original residence of Floyd and Jane Wray, is a now a museum that captures 1930s Floridian life and all the issues that the era shared with the rest of America.