Everglades National Park is known quite well for its beautiful array of wildlife and unique vegetation, and it's one of the most popular attractions to include on a Fort Lauderdale vacation itinerary. Before deciding when to visit the park, there are several facts that visitors should consider, such as the weather, wildlife, and how they want to spend their day in the Everglades. In addition to being a great tourist destination in Florida, Everglades National Park offers a variety of tours and programs, including teacher services, volunteer and membership opportunities, and research facilities. This is a truly wild experience where visitors can get up close and personal with nature.
Crocodiles at Everglades National Park
Although the attractions in Everglades National Park are interesting on their own, it's well worth learning about the area's intriguing history as well, which dates back to 10,000 BC. Archaeological sites within the Everglades indicate human activity beginning at this time, called the Paleo-Indian Period; these natives lived among the bison, mammoths, and mega-fauna in much drier conditions than those found in the Everglades today. The Paleo-Indians adapted to the changing climate and the extinction of the larger animals as the wetlands surfaced and became a prominent feature of the landscape; smaller land and marine animals became the major food source by 8000 BC, the beginning of the Archaic Period. The cypress swamps and hammocks that are now synonymous with the Everglades began to develop as the Florida shoreline diminished with the rising waters; the people became more and more dependent upon the waters for their food supplies.
Following the Archaic Period were three Glades periods, distinguished by various types of pottery. Archaeological evidence also reveals a trade system during the second and third Glades periods. Europeans arrived during the Historic Contact Period, between 1500 and 1750. There were five known tribes living in the area upon the arrival of the Spanish, including the Tequesta, Calusa, Jeaga, Ais, and the Mayaimi; the Calusa appeared to have dominance over the rest. Many of the natives died at this time, and the white settlers as well as natives from the north moved into the territory. Decades of development followed, during which time much of the habitats of the wildlife were destroyed, until the future of the Everglades was looking bleak. Fortunately, conservationists took action in an effort to preserve this stunning natural attraction.
In 1947, Everglades National Park opened its doors to the public. While the history of the Everglades is truly intriguing, nothing beats visiting the park thriving with lush vegetation and wildlife. Everglades National Park tours are offered to guests, and fees are based on the various vehicles used for the tours. Visitors can arrive in a number of different ways, including car, bicycle, and on foot; the entrance fee is good for seven days and is based on the type of vehicle you arrive in. An annual pass for the park is also available; this pass admits the member and any other visitors in the private vehicle or immediate family when arriving on bicycles or as pedestrians. Teachers are welcome to take advantage of the facilities for field trips and teaching resources, and the educational attractions in Everglades National Park are unmatched.
While on one of the Everglades National Park tours, visitors may see a variety of different mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, including deer, panthers, the black bear, the pilot whale, various bats, rabbits, rodents, manatees, crocodiles, alligators, and turtles. Other attractions in Everglades National Park include the Shark Valley, which is a fifteen-mile biking trail; the Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo Trails, highly recommended for first time visitors; and the guided tram tour that focuses on the highlights of the park. Bicycle rentals are available, and visitors specifically interested in the environment can take eco tours of the park or spend time learning about local endangered species, such as the manatee.
This is one place that is a must see on the list of things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Everglades National Park offers a host of activities, attractions, and resources for visitors and guests, from fishing and camping to wild-animal encounters. One of the unique opportunities for Everglades National Park Tours is to go kayaking through the area, getting an unparalleled view of the area and perhaps trying a little kayak fishing; other boat tours are also available, which give visitors the chance to explore some of the park's 10,000 islands. Everglades National Park is open 365 days a year, but during the wet season in the summer, some facilities or park entrances are closed or have restricted access due to flooding, so check ahead of time if there are specific attractions you'd like to see.