Earlier this month, we were able to spend a couple of weeks in southern Florida visiting more of our favorite places – National Parks! On one beautiful day, we drove over to Biscayne National Park, Dante Fascell Visitor Center. Located just south of Miami, Biscayne is unique in that 95% of the park is underwater! The park is touted for it’s great snorkeling and diving opportunities, but even if you don’t have a boat, it’s a lovely place to spend a day! A little bummed, like us, that you didn’t tote along the kayaks?…the park also has a concessionaire that rents canoes and kayaks, and offers glass bottom boat tours.
We chose to take a lunch and spend some time exploring the solid-ground parts of the park. 🙂 There are nice, grassy areas around the visitor’s center that have picnic tables available. They are right off the water, and the view is quite nice! After we finished our lunch, complete with resident birds begging for us to share our sandwiches with them, we went in to the visually appealing visitor’s center.
The upstairs visitor’s center is very tastefully done, and has a large room full of wonderfully informative displays featuring park ocean animals and plants. There are also monitors running footage of underwater creatures, and plaques offering all sorts of educational tidbits about the park. Our favorite thing about the kid-friendly visitor’s center was their well-stocked touch table. They had everything from old fishing floats to sea beans to tortoise shells; we got so involved with the displays that we forgot to watch any of the several films that the park offers.
After we checked out the visitor’s center, and had turned in our Jr. Ranger work, we headed out into the wild unknown! 😉 Out the front of the visitor’s center is a small bay where we had to check out the NPS’s police boats, and also where the glass bottom boat tour starts out from. Around that small area of water, is a walking path, and a boardwalk over the water to a jetty-looking point. We walked the smooth, flat path over to the jetty, which is covered with small trees and bushes, and which a path goes down. While we were on the boardwalk, we got to watch a man fishing (off the boardwalk) with his big ocean poles, and we also watched crabs and barracuda on the bottom of the bay.
We really enjoyed our visit to Biscayne National Park, and would love to return again, this time with kayaks in tow! It’s a beautiful park, even if we were only able to access the 5% of it that is above water!