Our next National Parks edition monopoly board property has been chosen and planned – Everglades National Park!
We are planning on spending only two days there which is going to be enough time to start to experience all that this park has to offer. Our intentions on these trips are only to get an introduction to these parks and experience many different areas of the United States. Once Lysa and Kristy are older, they can return to whichever locations they may want to explore further and do the activities that interest them. For now, our family will explore some parts of the Everglades to get a general idea of the intricacies of that park.
Some interesting information about Everglades National Park:
- It is the 3rd largest national park in the lower 48 states with 1.5 million acres
- Created in 1947 when President Harry S. Truman dedicated the original 460,000 acres
- This is a sub-tropical environment with a distinct dry season (December – April) and wet season (May – November)
- Wildlife include the American Alligator, American crocodile, indigo snake, Florida panther, West Indian manatee, many different birds depending on the season, freshwater and saltwater fish, along with many different amphibians
- Known as the “river of grass” and has the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie in North America
Exploring the everglades
There are a number of different ways in which to explore this vast area. Driving, hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, or boating all are options that can give different experiences and perspectives to the diversity of life in Everglades National Park. For the diehard adventurist there is the option to camp overnight. We have chosen to enjoy the comforts of environmental controls typically associated with a hotel. Hiking, driving, canoeing, and boating are the modes of transportation that we are researching currently.
Once arriving at Everglades National Park we will find out what ranger programs are available and begin to plan our two days according to which programs are of interest to us. I always enjoy these ranger programs and gain some great information. Being able to identify some of the flora and fauna or knowing some of the planning and history can really increase the enjoyment while we are out exploring the park on our own.
There appears to be other tours available such as tram trips, boat tours, bird watching trips, canoe trips, and fishing trips. These all would give different aspects to the wilderness of the everglades but due to our limited time we can only participate in a few activities. How do we determine which actives will provide the best experiences for us? We have to prioritize what we want to do and see the most.
Once we get a list of the ranger programs we can determine which of those we want to attend and we know that Lysa and Kristy want to get their Junior Ranger badges. Visiting the Everglades without riding on an airboat doesn’t seem like a complete visit so that is something we want to schedule in. We will take some time to drive through as much of the park as we can to see how the scenery changes as Everglades change from the saltwater of the ocean to the freshwater rivers and streams that flow through the park. While driving around we will likely stop in a number of locations to enjoy some hiking at a number of different trails. If there is time, canoeing would be a great addition to the experience for a couple of reasons. First, Lysa and Kristy have never really been in a canoe before. Secondly, much of Everglades National Park is based around water so seeing the park from this perspective can enhance our adventure.
We have much more planned with our trip to southern Florida which I will write about in a later post. For now, we are excited and looking forward to exploring Everglades National Park and including this location on our monopoly board!