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Florida Best Tourist Attractions and Places to Visit: Flamingo Gardens in South Florida Fla
Flamingo Gardens in Davie / Fort Lauderdale, Florida is a one-stop eco experience. It features the Wray Botanical Collection as well as the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s a not-for-profit, 60-acre facility which provides the perfect backdrop for the native plant species that reside there. All of the proceeds from merchandise purchases directly benefit the care of injured and endangered animals, as well as their cultural and botanical exhibits.
You can go to Flamingo Gardens to study the alligators, otters, flamingos, Florida Bobcats and a host of birds that inhabit the free-flight aviary as well as the bird of prey center. Peacocks roam freely throughout, as do iguanas.
There’s even an area with a beautiful gazebo that’s reserved for tropical weddings!
When you walk in, you feel like you’re in a tropical forest, with Florida’s largest collection of Champion trees and 200-year-old live Oak trees; this is reminiscent of how Florida used to be. You can visit the Historic Wray Home, built in the 1930s, and experience the past.
The pathways, made from 10 tons of waste / recycled rubber tires, feel so nice underfoot - but if you're not up for walking...
For a few dollars extra, you can enjoy a narrated tour of the citrus groves, wetland, and native hammock areas via tram.
Flamingo Gardens' Mission:
“To depict and preserve the natural and cultural heritage of South Florida and the Everglades in our botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary:
- By providing a repository for endangered plant and bird species and a living library and specific taxa available for research and education.
- By inspiring an appreciation for beauty and diversity of tropical and subtropical plants from around the world that can be grown in our area.
- By guiding the public in environmentally responsible and aesthetic horticultural practices.
- By encouraging environmental awareness and Everglades preservation to visiting tourists, residents and school children.”
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Lots of Wildlife at Flamingo Gardens
All of the wildlife seen at Flamingo Gardens are permanently injured, non-releasable animals. They are being provided a safe sanctuary; even some of the state’s threatened and endangered animals can be found here.
Some of the animals and birds you'll find are: flamingos (duh!), Ibis, peacocks, alligators, river otters, Florida Bobcats, panthers, tortoises & turtles, as well as lots of birds of prey like the bald and golden eagles, perigrine falcons, and vultures.
One of the goals is to perpetuate these species and return the young back to the wild.
Here are a few pointers if you’re going to visit Flamingo Gardens:
- As with most outdoor places in sunny South Florida, don’t forget the sunscreen and hats!
- Keep fingers out of cages; they can be considered food to some animals.
- Peacocks and iguanas roam free – do not feed or touch them. Really. We were looking at and taking pictures of one peacock when we were there and another family with a little boy, probably 3 years old, walked up to take a look, too. As we were walking away, we heard the dad ask the boy if he wanted to pet the peacock. A couple of minutes later we heard the mom scream in terror; when we turned to look, she was holding the boy with her hands on his head. We assumed he fell and felt awful; the mom was frantic and freaked out (I told my husband I would be the same way, that’s what we moms do best!) A few minutes later we ran into that family and asked if the boy was okay and we found out what really happened – the peacock attacked the boy! It attacked him and pecked at the boy’s head; it drew blood! Ladies and gentlemen, that is why they tell you not to touch or feed the animals. Thankfully, the boy was okay, just shaken up. He gave the peacock a time-out!
- Bring a camera – this is a fantastic place to get some beautiful photographs of the gardens, flowers, animals…
Now if you’re looking for tropical plants for yourself, you can visit the garden shop located just outside the entrance to Flamingo Gardens – you practically have to walk through it to get to the entrance. They have a great selection of tropical plants, shrubs and trees at decent prices, with knowledgeable salespeople to help you choose what you need.
We had a very nice time at Flamingo Gardens and definitely plan on going back. Admission is $17 for adults, $8.50 for kids 4 and up, 3 and under is free. Often times, like when we went, there will be something special happening and they’ll offer half price admission. This weekend was the 14th Annual Spring Garden Event. Yes, we came home with a few plants!
Examples of just a few of the beautiful flowers at Flamingo Gardens:
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