Everglades – Better than any zoo


How are you going to keep them down on the farm after they’re seen Paree?

In other words, how are you going to get children excited about a national park after they’ve seen animals up close at a zoo? I’m sure the professionals working to get children back to nature worry about that. A zoo is not nature but a safe and approved place for adults to take kids.

We went to Jungle Island in Miami, a private zoo. I don’t like to trash anything too much on this blog – I use Trip Advisor for that. Let’s just say that it was an expensive disappointment. But the animals were there, in cages. So it’s a big concern to then take children to a natural place, where the animals are not there for show. You have to find them.

EVER-ahingaThe next day, a visit to  Everglades National Park.

What a place – teeming with birds, sea life and of course, alligators. The anhingas were preening themselves, the alligators and turtles were out in the sun. And countless number of herons, egrets, and gallinules, a colorful bird which appears to walk on water.

South Florida is a world unto itself. It’s much more than Miami and its excesses. The tropical setting, palm trees and wildlife are like no other in the United States. Those who dismiss going to Florida because of the reputation of its cities should spend a day in Everglades.

EVER-turtlesWe did the conventional visit, walking the Anhinga Trail, where the animals congregate during the winter dry season. This area of Florida only has two seasons – wet and dry. You want to come here in the winter when it’s bug-free and where the water is scarce. That congregates the animals in the slough (wetlands or swamp).

Walking this trail is not a solitary experience. Busloads of people come here as well because that’s where the alligators are. But don’t let that deter you. The animals aren’t concerned. They want to be in and around the water.

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