The first part about Everglades National Park is here. This is the second part.
Among many wonderful places we saw in the U.S./Canada we can name just a few where wildlife is abundant. Yellowstone, Banff NP, Hawaii, and Florida are on the top of our list. We love them for one more reason: the possibility to explore without tons of effort, with little ones, or limited mobility. “U.S. wildlife experience, Anhinga Trail” is about what to expect from the #1 wildlife trail in Florida.
U.S. Wildlife Experience: Anhinga Trail. Car vandals
The very first thing you’ll spot at the trailhead parking – cars covered in tarps. We were puzzled by it until we noticed a box near the Visitor Center, in the pic below:
The black vulture might redecorate your car!
The moment we watched in horror as vultures flew in and started attacking the car, we no longer hesitated about covering it in tarp:
While no one knows for sure, it may be the oil in the rubber that attracts vultures.
Aside from damaging behavior, the vulture is a nice-looking bird:
How to explore Anhinga Trail
Anhinga trail has paved surface and boardwalk above wetlands. We spent around two hours on the trail: roundtrip is only 0.8 miles.
There are no tours are required, as in Shark Valley, (other popular Everglades destination), but you can participate in Ranger Programs. It is usually free with a park entrance fee and starts from Royal Palm Visitor Center.
The best time to visit the Anhinga trail
The best time to visit the Anhinga trail is during the dry season. December through April is the driest time when wildlife is concentrated in the last wet areas instead of being scattered all around the park.
Anhinga Trail map:
U.S. Wildlife Experience Anhinga Trail. Bird encounter
Anhinga Trail is named after the Anhinga, a large, black waterbird. It has many other names: “Snakebird”, “Water turkey”, “Darter” etc. More likely you’ll spot it on the trail drying its wings after diving, as in the picture below:
In the picture below: a great blue heron.
Spooky master of camouflage, Barred Owl, in the picture below:
One of the common names for the Anhinga – snake bird, she is also very funny, check her out on Youtube:
Everglades bandits, Black Vultures, are curious and can come very close:
U.S. Wildlife Experience Anhinga Trail
Florida is the only spot where alligators share a habitat with crocodiles. Most of the animals were alligators, like in the picture below:
How many gators can you spot in the picture below?
If you are patient you may spot a lot of big fish! In the pic below: fish the size of a turtle:
The dry season definitely is best for wildlife watching, otherwise, there would be much fewer animals seen. All pictures from the trip in late April:
U.S. Wildlife Experience Anhinga Trail. Essentials
- Please verify all the essential information (hours, prices, current conditions, etc.,)for the destinations before you go.
- Bug spray isn’t necessary during the dry season but is good to have.
- Sunscreen, hat, water bottle, rain jacket (rains are very possible even during the dry season), and comfy shoes. Please use only mineral sunscreen in Florida. Chemical ones are killing the reefs!
- Good camera (you’ll need that zoom!) and/or binoculars. I use this for birding now.
- National Park Annual Pass, if you already have one.
- Keep kids at a safe distance from the gators. They could be fast and fierce!
- Please respect the Park and take nothing besides pictures:
P.S. Anhinga Trail, Everglades N.P. Where to stay
We stayed at a pretty unusual place while visiting Everglades, – on the Florida Keys, the destination of its own. The only con was driving time, an hour one way.
The most popular locations for staying during exploring Everglades are definitely Miami and Homestead. Homestead is only 20 min driving time from the trail.
Thanks for reading guys! Enjoy Florida, it is much more than theme parks and beaches 🙂