Fast Facts About the Everglades

There’s a lot to know about the Everglades National Park, so we wanted to gather some basic important information for you in one place. On this page, you can easily access Park information.

Enjoy! And, have a great time in the Park an on an airboat with us at Captain Mitch’s, of course.

  • Everglades National Park address: 40001 State Road 9336
    Homestead, FL 33034
  • Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Per vehicle/Commercial Sedan – $25
  • Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Per Motorcycle – $20
  • Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Per Person/Cyclist – $8
  • Everglades National Park Annual Pass – $40
  • Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Commercial Minibus – $100
  • Average temperature is 74° to 77°F
  • There are two seasons at Everglades National Park: the wet season and the dry season. The wet season runs from mid-May to November and the dry season runs from December to mid-May.
  • The Everglades spans 1.5 million acres in southern Florida.
  • The northern section of the park is accessible via Miami or Everglades City.
  • The southern section of the park is accessible through Homestead.
  • The Flamingo Visitor Center has educational displays, brochures, and backcountry permits. The center has campground facilities, a boat ramp, marina store, canoeing trails, and hiking trails. You should bring food and water if you come to this visitor center. There is a café.
  • The Ernest Coe Visitor Center is open year-round with displays, films, and brochures. It has books, film, postcards, and bug spray for sale. Trails are a short drive from the center. There are restrooms here.
  • The Shark Valley Visitor Center has displays, a video, and brochures. Books, postcards, and souvenirs are for sale in the gift shop. Around the visitor center there are bike rentals, soft drinks and guided tram tours available. There are a few walking trails and restrooms.
  • The Gulf Coast Visitor Center has displays, films, brochures, and backcountry permits. At the center, you can take boat tours and canoe rentals – there are restrooms here and restaurants nearby.
  • Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours is located at 31000 Tamiami Trail E, Naples, Fl. The phone number is 1-800-368-0065

Explore the Everglades by Private Airboat Tour

Ready to explores the Everglades? While you’re here, you should definitely jump on an iconic airboat.

To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page.south florida caribbean network

What is the South Florida Collections Management Center (SFCMC)?

south florida collections managementThe South Florida Collections Management Center (SFCMC) is a multi-park museum program for Big Cypress National Preserve, De Soto National Memorial, and Biscayne, Dry Tortugas, and Everglades National Park.

The center coordinates the acquisition and preservation of museum collections, which support research and park needs.

SFCMC is in the Everglades. These museum house more than 7 million museum items.

Each of the five parks has a distinct museum and archive collection based on the purpose, history and the resources in the park.

The Everglades National Park houses:

  • 655,757 archaeology objects
    • 55 ethnology objects
    • 804 history objects
    • 2,710,511 archives objects
    • 112 art objects
    • 133,634 biology objects
    • 3,287 geology objects
    • 3,504,160 total objects

What type of objects are these exactly?

  • Objects recovered from shipwrecks (16th-20th centuries).
  • Objects made by Seminole and Miccosukee people like dolls, canoes, and tools.
  • Suit of armor from the 16th
  • A 19th-century cannon.
  • A 20th-century swamp buggy.
  • Mollusks, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals.
  • Documents, photographs, maps, films, drawings, and plans about the park.
  • Newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, journals, personal papers.
  • And more!

 

The public is welcome to visit the South Florida Collections Management Center museum and archives collections located in the Daniel Beard Center and Dr. Bill Robertson Center in Everglades National Park. The Daniel Beard Center is in the Nike Missile Site HM-69. The center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. by appointment only. It is closed on all federal holidays and whenever the Everglades National Park is closed.

If you’d like to donate any objects or materials to the park collections, visit  https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1565/contactus.htm.

Explore the Everglades on a Private Airboat Tour

There’s so much to see and do in the Everglades – we’re happy there are museums to house such important parts of the Park’s past. It’s important to see where we’ve come as a civilization.

If you want to learn about the park while on the water, go on an airboat tour. You’ll learn a lot about the areas. To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our  Everglades Private Airboat Tours page.

 

Everglades Safety Tips

safety tipsThe Everglades isn’t a simple park with a manicured lawn and a swing set – this land is wild, filled with animals, plants, and more, which is why when you visit you must follow safety guidelines to keep yourself and the Park safe.

  • The Everglades’ weather can be erratic and unpredictable. It can be extremely hot and humid. It also could be stormy. It is always advised you pay attention to the forecast before visiting.
  • Choose activities that you are physically up. Don’t bike, walk, or canoe a path that is too difficult for you.
  • Familiarize yourself with the trails before you go on them. Learn how long the trails will take you. Let someone know your plans, so if you’re gone for too long, someone will know if you need assistance.
  • Always bring water.
  • Bring insect repellent, especially in the summer.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing for whatever Everglades activity you choose to do.
  • Keep an eye on your children.
  • Pets are not allowed on most trails.
  • Keep your pets on a leash in parking lots.
  • Do not feed or touch the wildlife.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants if you want to better avoid mosquito bites.
  • Stay at least 15 feet away from an alligator or crocodile.
  • Try not to touch plants, especially if you don’t know the species – it could be poisonous.
  • Vultures like cars because of the rubber. Never park near a group of vultures. Park in the full sun. Use a car cover. Make loud noises to scare off vultures. Contact a park ranger for help with vultures near your car.

Explore the Everglades by Private Airboat Tour

The Everglades is a fun place to be, but if you don’t follow the above safety guidelines you could get hurt. Be respectful to the Park. It’s home to all the animals and plants. You want to leave the Park the way you found it.

Ready to explores the Everglades?  If you want to truly experience the Everglades, we suggest an airboat tour. You’ll get to see so much of Everglades on this vessel. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’ll never forget.

To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our  Everglades Private Airboat Tours page.

 

Shark Valley Visitor Center Will Receive Solar Panel Upgrade

parkThe Shark Valley Visitor Center in the Everglades will be receiving a bit of a facelift with new solar panels through a $25,000 donation thanks to a grant and solar panels donated by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). The solar power will power up the visitor center. The visitor center is a educational space that offers education displays, videos, brochures about solar energy, the Everglades, and animals in the Park. There is also a gift shop. It is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

FPL is working with the South Florida National Parks Trust and the Park to install the solar panels, which is a 12-kilowatt solar system. This solar system will provide the center with about 40 percent of the energy it needs to run.

According to the South Florida National Parks Trust’s Chairman Wayne Rassner. “The Shark Valley Visitor Center is an ideal location to showcase renewable energy projects, and FPL’s solar panels will help visitors better understand this connection through interpretive exhibits and displays.”

FPL is currently installing 1 million solar panels in Miami-Dade County.

In Shark Valley, visitors can walk, bike, or take a tram on a 15-mile loop trail. The tram tours are guided. You can rent bikes at the visitor center. There are snacks and drinks available, as well. People often spot alligators, turtles, fish, birds, and other animals in this area.

The Shark Valley Visitor center is located at 36000 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33194.

Explore the Everglades on An Airboat

Come on down and explore Shark Valley and its visitor center. You’ll learn a lot and get to see so much wildlife and plant life! When you’re done walking, biking or riding the tram, hop on an airboat tour to take exploring the Everglades to another level!

An airboat ride is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page.

 

 

 

 

Facts About the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in the Everglades

south florida caribbean networkThe Everglades is huge – more than 800 square miles in fact. Because of its size, the Park has multiple entrances and visitor centers. For this article, we wanted to focus on the Gulf Coast Visitor Center.

The visitor center is located at 815 Oyster Bar Lane in Everglades City, which is five miles south of Highway 41.

The visitor center is open mid-November through mid-April from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. mid-April to mid-November.

Unfortunately, in 2017, the visitor center was destroyed by Hurricane Irma and is undergoing repairs. In the meantime, there is a temporary visitor contact station. At this station, you are provided with information about the Ten Thousand Islands, which stretch from Flamingo and Florida Bay. The center has education displays for viewing and has backcountry permits available.

From the visitor center, you can leave on boat tours that explore the Ten Thousand Islands. The tours are daily, year-round. You can purchase boat tour tickets at 905 S. Copeland Ave., Everglades City. The tours leave from the Gulf Coat Marina, across from where you bought the tickets.

You can also rent kayaks and canoes. There are porta-potties available as restrooms.

When visiting this area, it is advised you bring your own water and snacks.

Explore the Everglades on An Airboat

About 10 minutes away from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center is Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours! After you are done exploring the visitor center and Ten Thousand Islands, drive up to catch an airboat ride. You won’t be disappointed! An airboat ride is a thrilling adventure where you get to see lots of wildlife, plants, and learn about the Park.

Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours is located at 30999 Tamiami Trail E, Naples, FL 34114. Captain Mitch is open daily from  8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To book an airboat tour or learn more, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page.

 

Volunteering in the Everglades National Park

volunteeringDo you enjoy helping others? Do you enjoy giving back? Do you like the outdoors? Do you like plants and wildlife? If so, we think you’d enjoy volunteering in the Everglades National Park. There’s a pretty big and active volunteer program in the Everglades. In fact, there is limited housing for many volunteers from November through April.

There are many volunteer options within the Park. Some positions deal with the public while others are more “behind the scenes.” Some volunteer opportunities are a one-time gig while others are longer-term positions. You can volunteer alone, with a group, for service hours. Adults and children can volunteer. Non-U.S. citizens who have a legal permanent resident status can volunteer, as well.

As a volunteer, no matter your job position, you will receive on-site training. All volunteers are protected under the Park’s workers’ compensation.

When you work for the Park, you’re giving back to the Everglades and community. You’re helping the Park with its mission and goals. As a volunteer, you will be invited to an annual appreciation event and may even win an award based on your efforts.

In 2012, the Park’s volunteer program won the George B. Hartzog Volunteers-in-Parks Program Award, which means the service in the Park provided above-and-beyond service.

Sound interesting to you? If you’re looking for a volunteering position in the Park, visitwww.nps.gov/volunteer or www.volunteer.gov.

Explore the Everglades on An Airboat

Looking to spend some time in the Everglades? Check it out on an airboat tour! An airboat tour will get you close to plants and animals while seeing areas of the wetland you’d never get to see by foot.

An airboat ride is a thrilling adventure, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will surely leave you will great memories. To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page.

 

 

Activities to Do in the Everglades

activitiesThere are seemingly endless activities to do in the Everglades – much more than just a walk on the trails! The Everglades is a National Park filled with things for you to do. Whether you go alone, with a group, with a loved one, or with children, there’s activity to suit your needs and wants!

As an airboat tour company, we highly recommend you experience an airboat tour through the waterways of the Everglades. You will see sights that you will never get to see any other way! Gliding through the water past plants and animals is a fun experience like no other!

Once you’re done with an airboat tour, you may be looking for other activities to do during a trip to the Park. For this article, we wanted to share some activities offered in the Park that are definitely worth checking out!

Biking – You can ride your bike in Shark Valley, Snake Bight Trail, and Long Pine Key Nature Trail.

Bird Watching – There are many spots across the Park to watch birds, but be aware that during nesting seasons bird watching may be prohibited in certain areas of the Park.

Boating – If you own or rent a boat, you can explore the Park on your own. There are also boat tours that leave from Flamingo and the Gulf Coast around the Park.

Camping – You can participate in front-country camping and backcountry camping in the Park. The Long Pine Key and Flamingo campgrounds have restrooms, grills, picnic tables, and sites for tents and trailers.

Fishing – You can fish for salt and freshwater fish in the Park. However, you must follow the Park’s and state fishing regulations to avoid being ticketed.

Geocaching – You can participate in a “treasure hunt” outdoors by finding hidden geocaches (containers) using GPS devices.

Kayaking/Canoeing – You can explore the Everglades on your own through the waterways. The Wilderness Waterway is 99 miles, but there are many other shorter waterways to paddle.

Slough-Slogging – Slough-Slogging is off-trail hiking where you can get closer to species in the Park.

Tours/Programs – Led by guides or rangers, you can take guided tours to learn about the Park.

These are just some of the activities for you to experience while visiting the Everglades!

Explore the Everglades on An Airboat

All these activities are fun, and we highly recommend them, but an airboat tour is hard to beat!  An airboat ride is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll get to glide by so many different animals, birds, and plants. To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page.

 

Everglades Flower: Buttonbush

evertglades private toursThe buttonbush is a deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree that produces flower heads. It is part of the coffee family (Rubiaceae).

The shrub’s flower heads have tiny, tubular, white flowers that grow in a sphere shape. It looks like a pincushion. The flowers bloom from June to August. The flowers produce  green and brown nutlets, which are ripe in the fall. They stay on the plant throughout the winter. Different animals, ducks, and birds eat this fruit – more than 50 species, in fact. Although, it is poisonous to humans and livestock. Hummingbirds, butterflies, insects, and honey bees feed off this plant’s nectar.

This plant has dark green, glossy leaves that are two to six inches long and one to three inches wide. In the fall, the leaves turn light green or yellow.

It can be found in forests, around ponds and streams, and swamps. This plant loves moist soils and likes mostly sunny areas. It can live in water up to three feet if flooding occurs. However, it does not tolerate salt water well.

Many animals and ducks use this plant for nesting or for cover in the wild.

This plant can grow 10 to 20 feet in the Everglades.

Explore the Everglades by Private Airboat Tour

If you love flowers and plants, you need to get out and explore the Everglades – there is no place like it on Earth. You need to see these beautiful plants up-close-and-personal!

A great way to view flowers in the Everglades is on an airboat tour. Even if you don’t see a buttonbush, there will be so many other flowers, plants, and wildlife you will see and learn about on your trip.

If you’re ready to explore the Everglades, jump on a private airboat tour! You’ll have a fun day full of exciting memories to share. To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page.

 

Cacti in the Everglades

cactiCacti in the Everglades? Huh? I thought cacti grew in deserts. They do, but they also thrive in tropical and subtropical environments. In fact, there’s many species of cacti that are native to the Everglades.

These cacti enjoy the heavy rainfalls in the Everglades, as well as the sunny and hot days. These cacti like the sandy, rocky, alkaline soils found throughout the wetland.

In the Everglades, the cacti species Simpson’s applecactus (Harrisia simpsonii) lives but is endangered. This cacti is large and has white, fragrant flowers that bloom at night. It’s nickname is “Queen of the Night.” Bats, moths, and other insects are attracted to these flowers because of their sweet smell and help pollinate the cacti.

Another endangered cacti in the Everglades is the mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera). Sadly, it has not been spotted in the park since 2005! The last-known mistletoe cactus was destroyed by a hurricane.

There is also several prickly-pear cacti in the park including Opuntia eburnispina, humifusa, and stricta. These cacti have fleshy, green pads, large yellow/orange/red flowers, and reddish-purple fruits. The prickly pear cactus’ flowers bloom for only one day. The

The triangle cactus (acanthocereus tetragonus) is a large cactus that can grow up to 23 feet in height. It has white flowers that open around midnight and close at dawn. It produces two-inch, red fruit.

 

Explore the Everglades by Private Airboat Tour

The Everglades is the perfect location for you to get a view of so much different plant life, including cacti. On an airboat tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see so many plants and flowers. Even if you don’t see a cactus, there will be so many other plants you will see and learn about on your trip.

If you’re ready to explore the Everglades, do so by airboat! It’s a fun adventure! To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page.

 

 

 

 

Everglades Flowers: Coral Bean

coral beanThe coral bean is a native flower plant to the Everglades. It blooms from spring until fall. It has red, tubular flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. In the fall, its seed pods mature and turn nearly black. These seed pods split open to reveal red seeds inside. The coral bean’s seeds are poisonous.

During the winter, it freezes to the ground. In the Everglades and South Florida, this flowering plant grows as a large deciduous shrub or small tree while in North or Central Florida it grows as a large perennial; it can grow up to six feet tall.

This plant is beautiful when it flowers, but it’s actually not that attractive of a plant when the flowers are gone. It is known to look sparse and ragged.

Coral bean thrives in well-drained, sandy soil with full sun or a little shade. It is a salt-tolerant plant.

If you boil the flowers and young leaves, they are edible. The coral bean flower has six antioxidants in it, so it is healthy. The plant tastes like mild spinach. Remember, the seeds are not edible. In fact, in Mexico, the seeds are used to poison rats and fish.

This plant always turns its leaves towards the sun.

This plant is also known as the Cherokee Bean.

 

Explore the Everglades by Private Airboat Tour

There are so many reasons why the Everglades is a beautiful and magical place. One of these reasons is the flowers. Pictures don’t do the Everglades’ plants and flowers justice. You must see it in person to truly grasp the beauty.

A great way to view flowers in the Everglades is on an airboat tour. Even if you don’t see a coral bean, there will be so many other flowers you will see and learn about on your trip.

If you’re ready to explore the Everglades, do so by private airboat! It’s an experience you’ll never forget.  To book an airboat tour, call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 800-368-0065 or click our Private Everglades Airboat Tours page.