For most people who come to visit Naples, they think about the lovely beaches, the luxurious opportunities for the traveler and local alike, the great fishing, and the fact that it is becoming a great urban escape destination. However, they seem to forget one of the most significant aspects about Naples’ location: that it is location within the Western part of the Florida Everglades!
The Florida Everglades, as a whole, is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is because of its significance as a major ecological habitat for many unique mammals, birds, reptiles and plants. There are several parks in Naples and in Southwest Florida that can give you the chance to explore the Western Everglades. One of the most educational and visitor friendly parks in Naples is the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
About Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Officially established in the 1950s by the Audubon Society, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of the most unique, arguably the most unique place related to the Audubon Society in the United States. What makes it unique is the fact that it is the only privately owned park that belongs to the Audubon Society, and that its property contains one of the few remaining, in-tact pine forests in the Southeastern United States.
Starting on October 21, 2015, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary will offer complimentary tours of their “ancient forest,” so that you can learn more about the varieties of pine trees that existed before Europeans arrived, and began harvesting these trees for their uses.
However, there is more to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary than ancient forests and being a unique member of the Audubon Society’s efforts of environmental conservation that make it a special place for you to visit. It is also a major migration stop for birds and butterflies from all over the world during the fall and winter months.
Come here to see birds like wood storks, and monarch butterflies. In addition to having a great opportunity for some serious bird watching, you can also see great, local wildlife that call the sanctuary its home. This includes a family of alligators, otters, barn owls, anhingas, and the occasional Florida panther.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary prides itself of being a great “outdoor classroom.” Once you come here, you will see why. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is like a mini version of the Florida Everglades, with all five examples of biomes found within this massive ecosystem. This includes pinelands, open prairies, estuaries, swamplands and cypress forests.
Additionally, you can see vital native plants to the Everglades ecosystem, learn about the importance that the Western Everglades plays in promoting natural water flow into the Everglades as a whole, why fire is such an essential part of the Everglades ecosystem, and also learn more about how each biome contributes to the health of the Florida Everglades as a whole ecosystem.
In order to help facilitate the learning process for each of its visitors, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary offers both complimentary and non-complimentary tours around it. Tours open to the public include butterfly tours, swamp walks, the ancient swamp walks, guided walking tours of the boardwalk, early bird walks and ghost orchid tours. You can also take photography classes, which is mainly inspired by the many visitors who love to visit Corkscrew in order to take great nature photographs.
Other learning opportunities include their “Corkscrew After Hours” series, which normally have themed children’s activities. These activities include face paintings, art projects inspired by Corkscrew’s birds and plants, special guests like authors and artists to talk about the science behind their work, and live music.
Address: 375 Sanctuary Rd W, Naples, FL 34120
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a great place to visit for you and your family while you are in Naples, especially if you want to experience the local nature and wildlife for yourself in an educational, yet fun environment. For more information on Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, please visit their website at www.corkscrew.audubon.org, to learn more about their guided tours, classes and After Hours events.
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