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Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Morning mist hugs the flooded forest floor as the sun’s soft glow incites the sounds of a new day.  As the blanket begins to lift among the rustling wrens, browsing deer, and a distant woodpecker, the shadows of ancient bald cypress trees stretch over an expanse of wet prairie.  Be sure to walk softly as your footsteps may be the only alien sound in an otherwise serene and secluded landscape.

 

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is located in east Naples and provides its visitors with a unique, once in a life time experience with every visit.  This 13,000 acre preserve holds the oldest bald cypress swamps in North America along with many unique and endemic creatures.  From the world renowned ghost orchid and thousands of wading birds, to the Florida Panther, Black Bear, and the infamous American Alligator, Corkscrew provides an opportunity to explore natural Florida and have the chance to observe some of these amazing species in their native habitat.  Even if you don’t happen upon any of these creatures, the 500+ year old bald cypress trees, strangler figs, resurrection ferns, and an array of other amazing and beautiful wetland plants are enough to strike awe into the each and every new explorer.

Take a stroll on the 2.25 mile boardwalk through the heart of the swamp for a journey into ancient Florida without even having to get your feet wet!  With group tours, boardwalk interpreters, education classes for youth and adults, after hours moonlight walks, and volunteer opportunities, along with the Blair Education Center and an amazing gift shop, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is at the top of the list of incredible places to visit in Southwest Florida and one of my personal favorites. Named on the list of the world’s wetlands of international importance by Ramsar, this place is a must see. 

The breathtaking landscape is also accompanied by a rich history of early Florida with stories of local rangers, plume hunters, and orchid thieves in a time that resembled the Wild West.  Knowledgeable and experienced boardwalk interpreters will share with you these stories and more including the local ecology, unique species, and just plain interesting facts.    

Get out there and take a walk on the wild side of Florida.  You won’t want to miss it!

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