One of my favorite activities when we are in south Florida is visiting the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. You are guaranteed to see some beautiful scenery and have the opportunity to see lots of birds, turtles, alligators, and other wildlife. Over the years, I have been to Corkscrew several times and was excited to take Little Bird here to run on the boardwalk and experience the sights and sounds of the swamp.
Due to the pandemic, there are a few changes at Corkscrew, including required reservations with timed entry and a change in direction on the boardwalk. We had no issues making our reservations online or checking in at our chosen time and really enjoyed the limited number of people on the boardwalk.
The morning we went started out a little chilly but warmed up nicely by the time we wrapped up. The chilly temperatures kept the bugs at bay for at least part of our visit. As we were rounding the final stretch of the boardwalk, the sun was getting pretty warm, so we were glad we got there early and beat the heat of the day.
Our trip to the sanctuary was less eventful than previous visits, as we only saw a few birds and a raccoon and did not see any alligators, turtles, or other wildlife. While it is always exciting to see those things, it is never guaranteed, which makes searching for them even more fun.
While we did not see any alligators, we saw some really incredible birds, including pileated woodpeckers, red shouldered hawks, and a bald eagle, among others. The woodpeckers were really busy working on several large trees and the hawks were incredibly loud and absolutely beautiful to see fly overhead.
The entire 2.25-mile walk through the swamp is on a wooden boardwalk, which is perfect for taking a stroller and letting a very energetic toddler run safely. Little Bird had the best time picking up leaves along the boardwalk and listening to her feet hit the wooden planks under her feet. We also convinced her to stop long enough a few times to listen to the many birds around us. Even with a snack on the way, she was getting hungry and tired toward the end of our visit. After a mini-meltdown and some love from mama, though, we finished strong and were ready for our picnic lunch at the truck.
One of the things I love most about walking through Corkscrew is the different ecosystems you meander through in the short 2.25 miles. There are swamps dotted with cypress trees, wetlands that stretch out into the distance, wooded areas, and waving grasslands. You never know what kind of birds or wildlife you are going to see on each visit.
This trip to Corkscrew was not quite as wildlife-heavy as other visits, but it was so much fun getting Bird out and introducing her to this special place. I know we will make return visits as she grows older as it is so important to us that she has an appreciation and respect for the beauty around us. We know the best way to foster this appreciation is to immerse her in nature as much as possible and teach her about the world around her.
We highly recommend a trip to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary if you are visiting south Florida. Be sure to remember your binoculars (we forgot ours!), bug spray, sunscreen, and camera. No trip to this beautiful place is ever the same, and you never know what you will get to experience.