Eventually we wandered into the visitor center to peruse the displays and ask a ranger for the best chance to see some crocodiles and perhaps a manatee.The everglades are the only place in the country where alligators and crocodiles overlap. We were given a location and immediately headed for the recommendation. Scouring the water from shore we became more and more disappointed as there were none in sight. As we continued to explore, a crocodile was sighted although we weren’t convinced that it was a live crocodile because there was no movement for a long time. I think the only movement for about an hour and a half was opening its eyes. This crocodile kept it mouth open for that entire time which seemed unusual for a live animal. Later we found out that this is one way for a crocodile to regulate its temperature.
A Crocodile Resting on a Branch
Early in the afternoon there was a ranger program about manatees which we decided to attend. While waiting for this program, a nest above the visitor center was spotted where an osprey was feeding its young. Another satisfying discovering on this great adventure!
The manatee program got underway with some great information about manatees such as their resemblances to elephants and the amount of food required for this animal to survive. Manatees are able to live in fresh or saltwater and their largest predator is a propeller from boats. After taking in this information, we headed to the area suggested for sighting a manatee and searched and searched to no luck. Then out of the dark water emerged a manatee surfacing for air. Once sighted, we were able to see this animal a number of times. Satisfied that we had accomplished what we had set out to do, it was time to leave Everglades National Park and continue our adventure to the Florida Keys and Key West.
I am excited to tell you about my adventures, but first I would like to tell you about the National Park we’re going to. The Everglades must be a cool place because I’ve heard so many things about them. First of all, I’m traveling with my family so I’m not alone. Traveling is more fun for me if there is someone to travel with. I’m very excited to explore the Everglades and learn more. I love to learn about other places.
Everglades National Park is the 3rd largest national park in the lower 48 states! Only Death Valley and Yellowstone National Park are larger. I am not surprised because it covers much of the southern tip of peninsular, Florida. It is 1,506,000 acres! I’ve been to this area before but never to the Everglades. It does surprise me that it ranks with the planets most important natural areas. It must be a cool place to visit but that’s not all! There are all kinds of animals too! There are all kinds of birds, alligators, crocodiles, bald eagles (cool!), and endangered panthers hoping to track white-tailed deer! I never knew they had endangered animals there! I hope we see, if not all, many.
This park was established December 1947, when Harry S. Truman was president. That was About 63 years ago! That seems like a really long time to me.
I hope we go to The Ten Thousand Islands (that’s a lot of islands!), The Royal Palm, and The Shark valley. SHARK VALLEY! I wonder if it’s where you can see or feel the sharks. I bet it is because the National Park goes into the Atlantic Ocean, and The Gulf Of Mexico. There’s also the Florida Bay, and The Whitewater Bay. There’s even an Everglades city right next to the boarder of The National Park! That’s really cool! I hope we have a lot of fun! Of course we will! I hope you can travel there too. It sounds really cool!