Today was a bit slower for the kids. A little pool-time, a good Cuban lunch (Mario’s Latino Café in Homestead – highly recommendable!) and a good nap in the morning. Naturally though, the day that they take a deep nap of more than an hour is the day that they need to be up before 4pm to get down to the Everglades. I felt so guilty waking them up from their cute, beautiful slumbers but did so as gently as possible. The entrance to Everglades National Park is only about 30 minutes from my mom’s place. By the way, I learned that for folks of my parent’s age (over 60), there is a Senior Pass which is free and grants access to the park and up to three other adults in the car for free in case that is of interest to any of my readers. Anyhow, only about 10 minutes from the entrance on the left, you get to the Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo trails out into the park. We chose the Anhinga trail named for the anhinga birds (a sort of heron) that have a nesting area on the trail. It is a definite winner, particularly for younger kids, because you are almost guaranteed to see loads of alligators (we saw 19!) as well as the occasional turtle (we saw 2), and, of course, anhingas (we saw 11 including a couple on their nest). The trail is only 0.8 miles long and takes about an hour, so it is perfect for little feet and short attention spans. It is also quite beautiful nestled between a willow forest, a gumbo limbo grove, and aquatic grasslands that typify the Everglades. The gift shop closes really early (like 4:15 PM), so you may want to check that out before your walk. We were there in the late afternoon with no mosquitos and a nice cool breeze so the weather conditions were ideal. This is a must for younger kids who probably would be scared by an airboat ride up at Shark Valley. And your way out, don’t miss the Robert Is Here Fruit Stand on Palm Drive and 192nd Ave for a wonderful fruit-ice cream shake as well as a small petting zoo.
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