Florida Birds – Florida Audubon Society

HeronThere are many things that cause an average of 1,000 people per day to move to Florida.  Aside from our generally sunny days, I believe that one of the reasons that makes Florida living more enjoyable is the great outdoors or, more specifically, it’s environment and wildlife.  If you share this belief and would like to learn more about Florida’s birds, then you may want to visit the wonderfully informative website of the Florida Audubon Society.

While at the Florida Audubon Society’s website you can learn about the various Florida waterbirds including a few of my personal favorites – the herons, egrets and ibis’ – as well as one of the more interesting ones – the Florida burrowing owl, the mascot of my alma mater, Florida Atlantic University.  You’ll also learn about the Florida Audubon Society’s ongoing involvement in the restoration of the Everglades ecosystem, as well as Lake Okeechobee sanctuaries,  the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and the Florida Keys Environmental Restoration Fund which is used to restore, enhance and manage Florida Keys natural areas

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Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida

Flamingo Gardens is located in Davie, Florida – the heart of Broward County – and encompasses 60 acres.  This South Florida attraction features a wildlife sanctuary and botanical gardens.  Their 25,000 sq. ft. “free-flight” aviary which represents five eco-systems is unlike any other I’ve seen. Throughout the park you can see some of Florida’s native wildlife including flamingos, peacocks (roaming the park freely), birds of prey, alligators, river otters and bobcats.  You can tour the historic Wray home (built in 1933) which was built on one of the highest elevations found in Broward County or meander through trails full of lush gardens that showcase rare exotic and native plants.  Their narrated 25-minute tram tour is worthwhile and takes you through the tropical rainforest, native hammock, wetland areas and groves.

Flamingo Gardens even has a charming wedding gazebo where many have exchanged vows.  In an area just outside the ticketed entrance, Flamingo Gardens also has a nice gift shop with more than the usual tourist-y souvenirs (and includes a well-stocked bookstore), as well as a garden shop with a variety of plants and garden decor to pick from. 

Flamingo Gardens is also well-known locally for its fruit stand which offers freshly squeezed juices and fruit smoothies, and they’ve been shipping Florida citrus and gift fruit since 1928. 

Whether you are just visiting, new to Broward County or South Florida, or a long-time resident, I highly recommend a visit to Flamingo Gardens… a glimpse into “Old Florida”.

Location: 3750 S. Flamingo Rd., Davie, FL  |  Phone: 954-473-2955  |  Map

Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, Florida

Whether you’re a resident or visitor to South Florida, you’ll find an abundance of places to go and things to see.  This post marks the beginning of a series titled “Things to do in South Florida“. 

South Florida’s Butterfly World – located in Coconut Creek – has been open since 1988.  This South Florida attraction offers over ten acres of aviaries and botanical gardens to explore.  Butterfly World is also a center for research and education and includes a living butterfly farm.  Other park features include the country’s largest free flight hummingbird aviary and a lorikeet encounter, resulting in the park also having an aviculture care and research staff.  Butterfly World has also been instrumental in saving an endangered species of butterfly that is becoming re-established in South Florida. 

Their website offers a very nice virtual tour of what you can expect to see and do at Butterfly World as well as a beautiful photo-filled butterfly guide and bird guide.  If you’re passionate about butterflies, they even offer a butterfly gardening workshop and a downloadable computer desktop calendar every month.

If you go, be sure to take your camera with you to capture all the colorful butterflies and plants found throughout the park.  The gift shop can be accessed without admission to the park and is full of interesting and unique gifts and books for butterfly and bird enthusiasts.

Location: 3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek, FL |  Phone: 954-977-4400 |  Map