If you’re inspired by the tropics and the palm-shaded outdoors, pack up the kids and plan a trip to Flamingo Gardens, also known as the Botanical Gardens and Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary. Located in the Fort Lauderdale area, the attraction is situated on 60 verdant acres. Look for the state’s tallest trees — so-called Champions — in the arboretum at one of the oldest botanical gardens in South Florida. Be sure to check on special Flamingo Gardens Events because popular weekends such as the early-April International Orchid and Bromeliad Show tend to sell out.
Visitors will see so much more than just pink flamingos standing proudly. Flamingo Gardens is one of the last natural jungle growths in South Florida and welcomes over 3,000 subtropical and tropical species of trees and plants. It is alsohome to the largest tree in Florida, and 200 year-old Live Oaks creating a canopy of orchids and epiphytes.
Wildlife and Natural Wonders at Flamingo Gardens
Wildlife lovers delight exploring the adjoining Flamingo Gardens Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary with over 85 native wildlife species. The sanctuary provides a home for permanently injured and non-releasable birds and animals. These Gardens and surrounding sanctuary are now a historical landmark whose mission is to protect, preserve and provide education about Florida’s natural plants and wildlife. Besides walking paths, there is a narrated tram tour through 42 acres of nature.
Exploring Flamingo Gardens isn’t a passive pursuit. Hop off the tram, hike some walkways on foot, and then re-board to head back to the station. (The whole ride is 25 minutes and it leaves every half hour.) Keep an eye out for wildlife including a black bear, otters, panthers, bobcats, parrots, macaws, cockatoos, storks, swans,cranes, geese, ibis, turtles, tortoises and more. Kids dying to see flamingos can look for a setting of waterfalls and tropical vegetation. Get up close and personal, and let your kids feed the flamingos onsite.
Inspire Your Kids with Conservation
Don’t miss a stop at the Wray House, home of the Flamingo Gardens founder, Floyd Wray and his wife, Mary. Built in the 1933 and restored in the 90s, it is one of the oldest homes in Broward County.
Be inspired by Mr. Wray, who wrote in 1939, “You are welcome to Flamingo [Gardens], and are invited to spend as much time as you desire, my only request being… that you help us preserve this beauty spot for others.”
Turn your trip into an educational experience by taking a moment to discuss the beauty of the gardens and the different types of animals that live there. Ask your kids why they think a wildlife sanctuary is necessary and how it helps the animals.
Get a Discount in South Florida
If you’re going to be in the area for a few weeks, or just want to hit surrounding adventures several times during your stay, ask about the South Florida (SF) Adventure Pass. Active annually through 2020 until the pandemic hit, many locals expect the pass to return this summer, again providing discounted admission during the May to October season to Flamingo Gardens, Xtreme Action Park, Sawgrass Recreational Park and Butterfly World.
Note that the four attractions participating in the pass are currently open with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Buy tickets online prior to visiting and inquire about the array of discounts for multi-fay visits, Florida residents and entry coupons. You will have plenty to enjoy all spring and summer long. More details about the passes and how to purchase them may be found at South Florida Adventure Pass.
Plan ahead with hotel, condo, beach bungalow and other top-value lodging ideas in and around Fort Lauderdale.
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