Located in the southwestern reaches of Miami-Dade County, the Everglades is a whole different world waiting to be explored – a world of sawgrass and alligator holes, of mangrove swamps and cypress trees, a world of vast blue sky studded with flocks of rare and beautiful birds. Threatened by draining and development, the wetlands were finally protected in 1947 with the creation of Everglades National Park, one of the country’s largest parks. Today the park encompasses 1.5 million acres, and contains a visitor center, nature trails, a marina, boat rentals and camping facilities. The Shark Valley entrance to the park is about 35 miles west of Miami, and offers tram tours and bike rides.
If a smaller sampling of the Everglades is desired, there are many commercial airboat rides and alligator shows available. Some suggestions are Everglades Alligator Farm in Homestead, or Everglades Safari Park off Tamiami Trail. The Miccosukee Indian Village provides airboat rides into the Everglades as well as offering a glimpse into the lives of the Native American inhabitants of this wild kingdom. See the listing in Attractions, page 107, for more details.
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