Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is beautiful! I love boardwalks through natural areas and this place has a great one.
Unfortunately, we did not get to spend as much time here as I would have liked and so I can’t wait to go back. For my son’s 13th birthday, I – the crazy mom – agreed to take him on a Field Herping Adventure, which meant that my boys and I woke at the ungodly hour of 4 AM on a Saturday morning and drove south to the Florida Everglades for the sole purpose of hiking for miles around in search of snakes. I know: Who does this?? Right?!
So we spent the bulk of the day at the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park and the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary was just a quick afternoon stop on the way back home. Really, it could easily be a full day on its own. Tickets are $14 per adult and $4 per student and that does get you in for two consecutive days. It was successful for us in that we spotted a couple of additional snake species to check off SnakeBoy’s birthday wish list, including this venomous water moccasin (aka cottonmouth):
Credit where credit is due: we only spotted this one with the help of the amazing volunteers here as they walk the boardwalk and when they spot something, they attach a card with identifying information and some colorful curly ribbon to the rails of the boardwalk to help visitors see what they may otherwise have missed.
So thank you, volunteers of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, for helping my boy to have a happy birthday!
In addition to the snakes that we were there to look for, we also got to peer through a volunteer’s scope at the Wood Storks who were busily building their nests and awaiting their young. Sadly, the Wood Stork is now classed as “Threatened” by the State of Florida and the federal government but this is one of the state’s largest Wood Stork rookeries so it’s a treat to see. There were many birds of all kinds – I could have watched them for ages, but my boys had other ideas.
We would have strolled right past the pig frogs if it hadn’t been for a keen-eyed and enthusiastic volunteer there to point them out. I didn’t even know such things existed. It’s named for its low grunting call which, as the name suggests, is reminiscent of a pig. They lay masses of up to 10,000 eggs which hatch in only a few days, but the tadpoles make take a year before they metamorphose. That’s a fact that surprised me.
What wildlife conservation area in Florida would possibly be complete without an alligator?
There is much to learn and admire here at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Friends of ours came for a day and had the very good fortune of catching a glimpse of a bear strolling into the woods! We weren’t so lucky, but I do hope to go back with all the family to enjoy this gem of a wildlife preserve.
Verdict: If you are in the Naples area, make time to visit this beautiful Audubon Center! I don’t think you’ll regret it for a minute.