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Sawgrass Recreational Park
florida everglades
By Brian Faso

Looking for a taste of Florida's history, wildlife and natural beauty? Have you ever seen an alligator in it's own natural environment? Have you ever been face to face with a real Florida Panther? Sawgrass Recreational Park brings it all to you in one exciting visit. The park offers airboat tours, historical displays and the complete natural Florida experience. Located just west of Broward County, in the heart of the Florida Everglades, Sawgrass Park is easily accessible and the perfect family day trip.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning when my wife and I arrived at the park. The sunlight was glistening off the water of the Everglades as the boaters and fishermen geared up for the day. Across the way we could hear the captains starting up the airboats for our exciting tour across the freshwater. We purchased our tickets and boarded our boat to meet Captain Brian, who would be our captain and tour guide for the day. As the fans on the airboat started, my wife and

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I realized why we had received earplugs. The fans were fairly loud but provided for a more intense everglade experience. Within five minutes after leaving the docks, Captain Brian brought us up along side of a 8-10 foot alligator! The gator and we sat still for about fifteen seconds, watching in awe. The gator then flinched and darted towards the high sawgrass to hide. This was the first time I had ever seen an alligator in its natural environment and it was truly awesome!

The airboat ride continued on for about a half an hour, as we were able to see the natural birds and fish of the everglades. We heard the history of the everglades and the details of the high sawgrass the area is named after. We saw some of the native turtles peek their heads from the water and quickly disappear. As we made our way back to the docks, we saw a hawk swoop down from trees and pull a fish from the water, only to return to the branch and wait for the fish to finish it's last attempts for escape. This was almost as amazing as the alligator sighting! It is truly breath taking to see nature at it's finest.

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After the airboat ride my wife and I walked through the Seminole Indian Preserves. This is a
replica of the 18th century Indian villages that inhabited the area hundreds of years ago. It
was interesting to see the lifestyles of the native Americans; you could not help but feel respect

for their native heritage and cultures. The park has set up viewing areas for guest to see a brief set of videotapes discussing the native lifestyle and traditional customs.

After a brief walk through the Seminole Preserves we entered the Alligator and Reptile Exhibit. Here we were able to get an up close and personal view of the gators, snakes, crocodiles and lizards. The park also features a Cayman, which is a large creature, that is a mixture between an alligator and a crocodile.

As we exited the viewing area for the reptiles, we came across a sign pointing east towards a walkway stating that the Florida Panther viewing area was just around the corner. We hustled down the short path to come across three of the most beautiful wild animals we had ever seen.

Sawgrass Recreatinal Park

They were real wild Florida Panthers! The park allowed us to get up close and personal with these animals as well. This was the highlight of our trip. They were so beautiful that words can not due them justice.

If you and the family are looking for a taste of Florida's history, wildlife and natural beauty, you must plan a visit to Sawgrass Recreational Park. Sawgrass Recreational Park brings it all to you in one exciting visit. To set up your visit with them on the web, visit their site at www.evergladestours.com. Also for a great place to stay only minutes away, book a room at the Renaissance Hotel and Resort in Davie, Florida. It is a beautiful resort close to all of the action just off routes 595 and 75 in Broward County.

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