Post Tagged with: "wildlife"

Curious manatee at Manatee Park, Fort Myers, on the Orange River, Feb. 14, 2015

Manatee Park & the Orange River: Fort Myers kayak trail ideal for winter day

When it’s chilly, you can see dozens of manatees at this free park. Even without manatees, the Orange River is a beautiful kayak trail through Old Florida scenery.

Strangler fig along Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk along the Tamiami Trail. (Photo: David Blasco)

Tamiami Trail: Scenic drive exploring Everglades

The Tamiami Trail, linking Miami and Florida’s west coast, gets you close to alligators, cypress swamps and Everglades scenery. It also offers outstanding stops along the way, particularly the Shark Valley area of Everglades National Park.

Wood storks, anhingas and herons all nesting together in Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach. (Bonnie Gross)

Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach: Watch the wood storks nesting

One of the best places to see wood storks and other wading birds nesting up close in winter is Wakodahatchee Preserve in Delray Beach. In February and March, dozens of storks build nests close to an easy-to-walk .75 mile boardwalk.

In the winter, visitors have no trouble seeing dozens   of alligators up close. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Shark Valley: South Florida’s best bike trail is an Everglades adventure

Everglades National Park is vast and there are many deep-into-the-wild places to explore. But one of my favorite Everglades experiences is Shark Valley off the Tamiami Trail west of Miami. The 15-mile loop path is the best traffic-free scenic bicycle trail in South Florida.

Where to see manatees in Florida; best places to see manatees

Where to see manatees in Florida; best places to see manatees

If you’re lucky, you can see manatees in lots of waterways around Florida, but here are a few locations where, in winter, you can reliably admire these charming creatures — and even kayak with them.

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge: Safe harbor for birds & other living things

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge: Safe harbor for birds & other living things

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge is a year-round refuge for birds and other living things, from the dazzling roseate spoonbills to the American bald eagle. During the fall migration, birding is especially good.

Marineland: Surprising story of legendary ‘oceanarium’

Marineland: Surprising story of legendary ‘oceanarium’

Marineland was the original oceanarium and the first to discover you could train dolphins to perform. Read its fascinating history, an excerpt from the new book, “A New Guide to Old Florida Attractions: From Mermaids to Singing Towers,” by Doug Alderson.

A sandbar made a lovely spot for a picnic along Fisheating Creek.

Legendary Fisheating Creek : Kayak trail lives up to hype, but timing is everything

This gorgeous, wild, winding river is well-known in Florida, but can only be paddled when water levels are high enough — and that’s right NOW. This river belongs on the bucket list of those who love the Florida outdoors.

A gator seemed to protect the entrance to the mud flats that attracted roseate spoonbills, stilts and storks, among other birds. This is along the river in Myakka Lake State Park.

Myakka River State Park: Expansive, abundant, Sarasota home to wildlife & nature

Myakka is one of the oldest and biggest state parks, a great place for seeing wildlife, from huge gators to flocks of birds in winter. Go here for its log cabins, appealing camp sites, excellent kayaking, extensive hiking and good bike trails. It’s also a good spot for nature neophytes, who enjoy the airboat ride and canopy walk.

Burrowing owls at Brian Piccolo Park in Cooper City.

Florida birding trail: New website helps you find places to explore & see wildlife

The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail is a guide to 500+ places. It’s a great tool for discovery. I used it to find a colony of burrowing owls in an unlikely spot — a city park in the middle of overbuilt Broward County.