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The Best Things To Do in Everglades With Kids

When Florida comes to mind, a national park is usually the last place you think of! Most families visit Florida for the beaches and Disney.

However, every year more than one million tourists from all over the world visit the Everglades. In fact, families find tons of activities and things to see in the Everglades with kids.

The Everglades is one of the wonders of the world. With 1.5 million acres, it has been declared a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve and Wetland of International Importance.

The National Park has nine points of entry and visitors have the chance to see the park by sea, tram, bicycle or on foot.

What makes this massive swamp in the southern part of Florida unique is it is home to hundreds of different species, both native and non-native. You never know what you might see!

Some animals found in Everglades include white-tailed deer, flamingoes and alligators. Crocodiles and pythons are not native to the area. However, thrive in the warm environment.

Many families spend a few days camping in the Everglades. There are backcountry sites available and two campsites welcoming of RVs.

Otherwise, there are plenty of family hotels nearby. Lots of tourists drive from Miami to Florida Keys and may include Everglades into their itinerary.

everglades with kids
Everglades With Kids

When to Visit the Everglades For Kids

One of the great things about the Everglades is its location in Southern Florida

The climate is great all year round. The year is split into a dry season and a wet season.

The animals at the park act differently when the seasons change, so depending on what you want to see might determine when you should visit.

The dry season is from December to April and is the busiest time of year at the park. While many places north are cold, Florida is warm and dry.

The weather has an effect on the animals as well, they may be slower than usual. Coming to the end of the season, they become more active.

The wet season is from May to November. If you want to avoid crowds, it’s the perfect time to visit and the best time to see the wildlife at the park.

In fact, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts visit around this time. There are a few specific times to consider. If an airboat tour is on the intinerary, keep in mind Memorial Day weekend is extremely busy.

Many babies can be seen roaming the park around August as Spring is mating season. It’s best to visit the park on weekdays. Arriving before 10 am can help with traffic and finding a parking spot.

If you are visiting in Fall, check out our guide to pumpkin picking in Florida

This complete guide covers all you need to know for a trip to the Everglades for Kids.

Table of Contents

Junior Ranger

Kids can pick up their Junior Ranger pack. It is jam-packed with things to do during their visit to the park. You can also request a copy by email here before you set off.

There is one other visitor centre nearby. The Big Cypress National Preserve Oasis Visitor Center is not part of the Everglades, but it is a great place to learn about how the Everglades and the Big Cypress National Preserve work and how they rely on each other.

1. Everglades Air Boat Tour

The best way to see the Everglades is by water. The marshy grasslands can be difficult to trek so the park has set up several ways to see all of its wonders by water.

One of the most popular Everglades family activities is an airboat tour to discover diverse landscapes and species.

An airboat tour passes through prime locations for to spot alligators, turtles, and a variety of birds that can only be seen at the Everglades. 

To know more about the history of the Everglades, a 1-hour Airboat Adventure Tour is a perfect choice.

There is an option to combine an airboat tour with a wildlife show. Visitors can learn more about the alligators. The airboat tour is shorter, just thirty minutes and the whole trip last lasts around an hour.

Find out more about the Airboat Tour and Wildlife Show here

everglades with kids airboat
Everglades With Kids

2. Hike An Everglade Trail

The trails in the Everglades vary in difficulty and length, subsequently, there are options for all abilities.

Hiking trails like the Flamingo and Pine Island trails are reachable via the main park entrance in Homestead, Florida. Whereas the Shark Valley trail is more accessible from Miami off U.S. 41.

The Anhinga Trail

There are plenty of short and sweet trails at this east coast national park.

The Anhinga Trail is a popular choice, it starts at Royal Palm and is open all year round.

Along the 2.4km loop trail, there is a lot of wildlife including alligators, turtles and numerous species of birds.

They can all be viewed safely from a boardwalk. As the trail is paved, it is a great choice for those with strollers. The only downside is the trail is not shaded so it can get quite hot.

Getting To The Trail: The Anhinga Trail begins at the Royal Palm Visitor Center, four miles (6 kilometers) from the park’s main entrance.

visiting everglades with kids
Everglades With Kids

The Gumbo Limbo Trail

Many visitors combine the Anhinga trail with the Gumbo Limbo trail as it is only 0.4 miles and has an entirely different ecosystem.

The trail is paved and suitable for strollers. Gumbo limbo trees provide a unique view of the forest and have an interesting bark with a reddish colour that peels away in thin layers.

Not to mention a variety of plant life, such as air plants, royal palms and ferns.

everglades with baby
Everglades With Kids

This trail is shaded so it is a welcome change from the Anhinga Trail. The loop trail goes around a lake so keep an eye out for alligators and lizards.

Getting To The Trail: Gumbo Limbo Trail begins at Royal Palm Visitor Center, approximately four miles (6 kilometers) from the main entrance of the park.

Pinelands Trail

The Pinelands Trail is an excellent opportunity for families with kids to learn about the diverse wildlife and plants found in the Everglades. It has a unique wetland ecosystem, which supports a variety of species.

everglades what to do with kids
Everglades With Kids

Even though there are narrow and uneven places where roots have pushed the pavement up, the majority of the trail is suitable for strollers.

The Pinelands Trail is a nice place to enjoy the beauty of nature through a forest of palmettos, wildflowers and pines. The winding pathways and vibrant foliage make excellent photos.

Getting To The Trail: Pinelands Trail is seven miles (11 kilometers) from the main park entrance.

Pahayokee Overlook

With 0.16 miles of an open-air boardwalk, the Pahayokee Overlook is a perfect short walk to enjoy the picturesque views of the surrounding landscape.

The raised observation platform is unique and provides a bird’s eye view of the sawgrass prairie and its lush wetlands.

pahayokee overlook
Everglades With Kids

A variety of wildlife, including wading birds, alligators, snakes, and other animals can often be seen.

Getting To The Trail: The Pahayokee Trail is 13 miles (21 kilometers) from Everglades Park’s main entrance.

Mahogany Hammock Trail

The boardwalk at Mahogany Hammock Trail is wide enough for strollers to navigate and made out of a durable material that can handle the wet conditions of the marl prairie.

mahogany hammock trail
Everglades With Kids

It’ss an easy and enjoyable 0.5 miles walk for all ages, even a toddler could manage it.

Leading to a unique and diverse ecosystem of hardwood hammock trees and other vegetation such as air plants, and gumbo limbo trees. Not to mention the largest standing mahogany tree in the US.

The large mahogany tree is an impressive sight, a testament to how crucial it is to preserve our natural environment.

Getting To The Trail: It takes 20 miles (32 kilometers) to reach the Mahogany Hammock Trail from the Ernest Coe Visitor Center.

West Lake Trail

The 0.5 miles (800 meters) West Lake Trail is a self-guided boardwalk trail winding through a mangrove forest on the edge of West Lake.

west lake trail
Everglades With Kids

The trail is a perfect way to observe the beauty of the coastal environment and learn more about the various white and black mangrove species, as well as other flora such as buttonwood trees.

Getting To The Trail: West Lake Trail is approximately seven miles (11 kilometres) north of Flamingo Visitor Center.

Guy Bradley Trail

The Guy Bradley Trail is a two-mile (3.2 kilometres) loop around Flamingo, which was once a tiny fishing village in Everglades National Park.

Observe a variety of bird and butterfly species. It’s a great hike when visiting the Everglades with kids.

The old pier pilings are a reminder of the area’s past! The trail gets its name in honour of Audubon warden Guy Bradley, who devoted his life to protecting the birds of the Florida Bay area.

Getting To The Trail: The Guy Bradley Trail is a scenic shortcut connecting the Flamingo Visitor Center with the Flamingo Campground day-use area.

Eco Pond Trails

There are so many Everglades animals for kids to discover. Most families who visit the Everglades with kids are excited to see alligators for the first time and there are plenty of trails to see them.

Lots of other animals can be seen on a short walk around the Eco Pond.

Everglades Animals for Kids
Everglades With Kids

The trail is less than a kilometre and there are many birds at the pond. While the trail doesn’t offer great views of the pond itself, there are a few breaks in the trees. Along the way, you may also see some nesting birds or hawks.

The tram is a fantastic choice for those with babies and toddlers. It’s a two-hour trip around the valley, with a stop at the observation tower.

Shark Valley Trail

Shark Valley is easy for those using the main entrance at Homestead and is worth a visit. It’s an alternate route from Miami.

Everglades Things to do with Kids
Everglades With Kids

Those families visiting the Everglade with kids that are slightly older may consider renting bicycles at the visitor centre.

The loop trail is 25km but it is flat and easy to ride. The valley is the heart of the Everglades and is an amazing opportunity to see wildlife up close.

The trail is prone to flooding so if there has been a lot of rain, it is often closed. There is no shade either, so it’s important to be prepared.

Check out the website for more information on closures before you set off.

everglades animals for kids
Everglades With Kids

3. Everglades Visitor Centre

Many National Parks have a couple of visitor centres, however, the Everglades has four. There is Shark Valley Visitor Center, Gulf Coast Visitor Center, Flamingo Visitor Center, and Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.

Each of the centres offers something different. In Everglades City, you can find the Gulf Coast Visitor Centre. It serves as a gateway to the Ten Thousand Islands.

It’s a maze of mangrove islands and waterways extending to Flamingo and Florida Bay. The islands are only accessible by boat and it is where many of the tours start.

main park road
Everglades With Kids

Bicycle rentals and tram tour bookings are available at Shark Valley Visitor Center.

The centre is full of educational displays and informational brochures. There is also a park video for families with a ton of information about the Everglades for kids.

For those camping at the park, Flamingo Visitor Center is where to check-in. It’s also the starting point for many trails both on foot and by canoe.

Boat tours can be booked at the marina near the centre and it is the place to go for information on backcountry camping.

Last but not least is the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. It is near the Homestead entrance and it has many trails nearby.

It offers a wide range of information about the park in the form of educational displays, orientation films, and informational brochures.

Sometimes there is artwork displayed by locals. Don’t forget to get your passport stamped in each place!

4. Kayak The Everglades

For the more adventurous Sea kayaking tours are available. The Mangrove Tunnel Tour has to be the most unique way to explore the park Everglades with kids.

The lakes at the Everglades are surrounded by mangroves which are home to herons, egrets, stilts, ducks, wood storks, spoonbills, alligators, otters and many varieties of fish. We saw tortoise basking in the sun.

everglades with kids
Everglades With Kids

The kayaks are stable and it is easy to use so there is no experience required. Each tour has a Florida Master Naturalist guide.

The guide offers an opportunity to learn about the history of the Everglades National Park wildlife and flora while navigating the lakes and interlocking creeks.

Kayak Everglades Mangrove Forest.

5. Bird Watching

Observing birds is one of the most popular activities when visiting Everglades with kids. With hundreds of species of birds living in the park, it’s easy to spot some rarest and most unique birds in the world.

From the iconic Roseate Spoonbill to the Bald Eagles, there is so many to discover!

anhinga trail
Everglades With Kids

A bonus for bird watchers is the opportunity to observe some rare species, such as the wood stork and crested caracara.

The best time to observe the birds and other fauna is from December through April. Due to the dry season, birds usually migrate to a reliable water source. Spotting the birds is much easier, with less foliage to obscure the view.

Another bird to keep an eye out for is the Anhinga. A prime viewing opportunity for the iconic species is the Anhinga Trail. Its boardwalks and observation towers offer a close-up view of the amazing species.

Bird watching in Everglades with kids might not seem like a riveting experience. However, it’s easy to spot them on many trails.

Gear For Bird Watching At Everglades National Park With Kids

Bird watchers of the serious kind prefer to prepare thoroughly. Their bird watching gear usually includes:

Everglades with kids
Everglades With Kids

However, for kids and casual bird watchers, we suggest carrying the following items:

Bushnell 138005 H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Compact Roof Prism Binocular, 8 x 25-mm, Black
  • Magnification x Objective: 8 x 25 millimeter
  • BaK 4 prisms for bright, clear, crisp viewing
  • Multi coated optics for excellent light transmission

A Set Of Waterproof Binoculars

US Organic Organic Mosquito Repellent Anti Bug Outdoor Pump Sprays, 4 Ounces, Certified…
  • Proven 98-100% repellence against Yellow Fever Mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) – Tested by the largest pest…
  • Long lasting protection and safe for babies, kids, expectant moms and elders
  • Herbal repellent. Ingredients include Soybean Oil, Castor Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Citronella Oil, Cedar Oil,…

Insect Repellent Spray

Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen for Face and Body, Tropical Fruit Sunscreen Lotion for Kids, Broad…
  • SPF 45 SUN PROTECTION: Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, this pediatrician tested broad-spectrum…
  • BEACH ESSENTIAL: Made with 100% vegetarian ingredients and botanicals, our biodegradable SPF 45 formula…
  • TROPICAL FRUIT SUNSCREEN: A lightweight and quick-drying sunscreen lotion featuring ingredients like aloe…

Sunscreen For Kids

YETI Rambler Jr. 12 oz Kids Bottle, with Straw Cap, Reef Blue
  • YETI kids need a bottle that can keep up. Introducing Rambler Jr. – a small-and-mighty kids bottle…
  • Dishwasher Safe – As a well-deserved convenience to you, we made sure both the bottle and cap are…
  • 18/8 Stainless Steel – Withstands all dents and drops and BPA-Free so they can safely sip without a worry…

Reusable Water Bottle For Kids

For more serious bird watching, consider bringing a tripod and a spotting scope for better viewing.

6. Take A Guided Tour

A great way to make the trip as easy as possible with little planning is to take a guided tour of the Everglades with kids. The guide takes care of the itinerary!

With a guided tour of the Everglades with kids families can experience the park in an educational way. Information and education are always on hand when a guide is at hand to help.

oasis visitor center
Everglades With Kids

The Everglades National Park Biologist Led Adventure Tour is a fantastic option. The tour includes a cruise, hike and an airboat ride. 

The boat tour offers families a unique opportunity to:

  • Observe birds, manatees, and dolphins
  • Dry nature hike led by a master naturalist in the Big Cypress National Preserve
    • Visit a native tree island village only accessible via boat

Book your Everglade National Park Biologist Led Tour.

7. Learn Photography At Everglades

Private Everglades National Park Photography offers the chance to take stunning photos of wildlife and landscape. This is perfect for teenagers with an interest in photography.

With an expert guide, learn the basics of wildlife photography, from choosing the right lens to using the correct exposure settings for the perfect shot.

Everglades private tour
Everglades With Kids

No matter your camera experience (even with a phone camera), the captain will offer insight into the best settings to get the most stunning shots once the boat is in position.

Book your Private Everglades National Park Photography Tour here.

Camera Gear For Wildlife and Nature Photography

Here is a list of the essential wildlife photography gear for budding photographers:

  • A suitable camera for wildlife shoots
  • A tripod to stabilise and hold the camera.
Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 Long Zoom Digital Camera Features 12.1 Megapixel, 1/2.3-Inch Sensor, 4K…
  • 4K video and 4K photo: Panasonic’s exclusive 4K photo technology uses 30 frames per second in high…
  • Leica DC Vario Elmarit lens: 24x zoom (25 600 millimeter with Full zoom range F2; 8 aperture for enhanced…
  • High image Quality: The 12.1 Megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor with the venus engine excels in…

Camera For Wildlife And Nature Photography

Opteka 500mm/1000mm f/8 Manual Telephoto Lens compatible with Canon EF-Mount EOS 90D, 80D, 77D,…
  • OPTICS – A super multi-layer coating has been applied to lens elements in order to minimize lens flare…
  • SUPER RANGE – Manual focus 500mm or 1000mm with the 2x converter, this lens is not only a superb…
  • SOLID CONSTRUCTION – Full metal body and rear t-mount allow this lens to withstand wear and tear much…

Telephoto Lens

Amazon Basics 50-inch Lightweight Camera Mount Tripod Stand With Bag
  • Camera mount tripod stand with zippered storage bag
  • Adjustable height with 3-section, lever-lock legs for simple adjustments
  • Folds down quickly and made of lightweight aluminum for easy portability


8. Everglades Ranger Programs

Everglades Ranger-led programs provide a unique opportunity to explore the wonders of the Everglades National Park.

From canoe trips and bike hikes to bird walks and giant crocs, the programs aim to engage and educate visitors of all ages, especially kids.

The Ranger-led programs at the Everglades with kids include:

  • Royal Palm Ranger Led Programs
  • Flamingo Ranger Led Programs
  • Shark Valley Ranger Led Programs
  • Gulf Coast Ranger Led Programs

Royal Palm Ranger Led Programs

Royal Palm Ranger Led Programs vary every season, with most activities occurring during the dry season from December to April.

Some of the top activities at Royal Palm include:

  • Anhinga Amble
  • Bike Hike
  • HM69 Nike Missile Site
  • Starlight walk

For more information on Royal Palm Ranger Led Programs.

Flamingo Ranger Led Programs

Flamingo Ranger Led Programs guides you around Flamingo. The endless activities make for an adventurous day at Everglades National Park with kids.

Some of the activities include:

  • Flamingo in a nutshell
  • Leafy, Barky, Toxic?
  • Guy Bradley’s Legacy
  • Crocs Alive!
  • Marvelous Manatees
  • Hidden history journey
  • Cold War Flamingo trek
  • Junior ranger program

For more information on Flamingo Ranger Led Programs.

everglades ranger led programs
Everglades With Kids

Shark Valley Ranger Led Programs

The Ranger Led Program at Shark Valley is only during the dry season, from Mid December to April

The program is worth exploring at the Everglades with kids, especially, keen nature enthusiasts who love to learn about flora and fauna.

Some of the activities at Shark Valley include:

  • Soar, Swim and Stroll
  • Shark Valley Slough Slog
  • Flora, Fauna and Fun
  • Full Moon/New Moon Bike Ride
  • Shark Valley Tram Tours

For more information on Shark Valley Ranger Led Programs.

Gulf Coast Ranger Led Programs

Gulf Coast Ranger Led Program has a list of activities at the Everglades with kids. Most occur only during the dry season, from November to April.

Here are some of the top activities at the Gulf Coast Ranger Led Program:

  • Astronomy Programs
  • Stargazing by the bay
  • Bayside Chat
  • Nature Walk
  • Narrated Boat Tour

For more information on the Gulf Coast Ranger Led Programs.

9. Camp Everglades With Kids

There are two different ways to camp at the Everglades with kids. Front country and backcountry!

The two front campgrounds at the Everglades are Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground.

Both sites allow families to drive in and RVs are welcome as well, however, must be booked in advance.

Long Pine Key Campground

Long Pine Key Campground is closed from May and remains closed throughout the wet season. On-site are some of the amenities required when visiting the Everglades with kids on a camping trip.

Including restrooms, cold showers, and freshwater fill-up stations. 

The Flamingo Campground

The Flamingo Campground is open all year round. It is situated on Florida Bay so visitors can enjoy a refreshing breeze. 

The open field has showers, two dump stations, picnic tables, grills and an amphitheatre for winter programs.

There are also some electrical hookups at the T Loop campground perfect for families visiting the Everglades with kids needing facilities.

Both campsites operate on a first come first serve basis. It is best to reserve a place, especially during the dry season.

For those planning on backcountry camping, it is important to request a permit. They are available for pick up at the Gulf Coast or Flamingo Visitor Centers no sooner than 24 hours in advance.

It is worth noting the majority of the backcountry campsites are only accessible by water.

However, there are a few reachable on foot which might be suitable if you are visiting with Everglades with kids who are a little older. Check with the visitor centre for more information.

To make a reservation and for more information on planning a wilderness, trip click here.

everglades with kids
Everglades with kids

10. Hotels Near Everglades

Vacation Village At Bonaventure, Weston

Vacation Village At Bonaventure’s prime location in Weston is under five minutes from Everglades National Park.

The hotel offers a fitness centre and outdoor pool with a waterfall perfect for families visiting Everglades with kids to cool down in the warm weather.

The balcony provides a great view of the area, and the cable TV and kitchenette provide convenience and comfort.

No to mention its proximity to the mall provides families visiting the Everglades with kids easy access to shopping and other activities.

Everglades with kids
Hotels Near the Everglades With Kids

There are other amenities available at Vacation Village, including an outdoor cinema screen, karaoke, and aqua fitness.

The amenities provide families with a variety of recreational and convenience options to make their stay more enjoyable.

The 24-hour reception and launderette also add a layer of comfort, especially for families who will be hiking.

Other amenities include:

  • Private parking
  • Access to WiFi in all areas
  • Family Rooms
  • Non-Smoking room
  • Outdoor swimming pool

Book a stay at the Vacation Village At Bonaventure, Weston.

Fairway Inn, Florida City

Homestead is a twenty-minute drive from the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. Fairway Inn is a great base to stay in while exploring the Everglades with kids.

The hotel is within walking distance of many of the local shops and restaurants and six minutes from the stunning Florida Keys. 

Everglades with kids
Everglades With Kids

The hotel has an outdoor pool open all year round. Family rooms are available and all come with a small microwave and refrigerator. Complimentary tea and coffee is provided along with daily breakfast.

To find out more information about the Fairway Inn click here.

Aloft Miami Dadeland

Aloft Miami Dadeland, is best suited to those who want to explore both Miami and the Everglades with kids. In terms of distances the:

Everglades National Park (32.5 miles)

The Coconut Grove shopping and dining district (7 miles)

Dadeland Mall (0.9 miles)

The hotel has on-site restaurants and free WiFi in the rooms.

everglades national park kids
Everglades With Kids

Aloft Miami Dadeland is a pet-friendly atmosphere. The complimentary shuttle service provides access to the local area without renting a car or taking public transportation.

After a day of exploring the Everglades with kids unwind at the WXYZ in-house bar offering a selection of American dishes for breakfast and dinner, as well as a daily happy hour special for guests to enjoy.

Check out the prices for Aloft Miami Dadeland, Kendall.

Hampton Inn Pembroke Pines

For those wanting to combine a trip to the Everglades with kids with a beach trip, staying in Fort Lauderdale is a great choice.

Hampton Inn Pembroke Pines is a short drive from the beautiful beaches and just an hour from the Everglades.

The Everglades for Kids
Everglades With Kids

Rooms at the hotel include microwaves and refrigerators. There is also an outdoor swimming pool and convenience store on-site.

With plenty of family rooms to choose from, it is a superb choice for families visiting Florida and the Everglades with kids.

To find out more about the Hampton Inn Pembroke Pines, click here.

everglades for kids
Miami Hotels – Visiting the Everglades with Kids

The Guild Downtown l X Miami

Downtown Miami is just an hour away from the Everglades so makes a great base for any trip. The Guild Downtown | X Miami is good for both small and large families.

In fact, some rooms can sleep up to eight. Each room come with a fitted kitchen inclusive of an oven, stove, and coffee-making facilities.

visiting the everglades with kids
Everglades With Kids

There is a swimming pool in the complex and barbecue facilities. The hotel is within walking distance of Bayfront Park.

Best of all, the metro is right outside the front door, making it convenient to explore Downtown Miami and many of the fabulous beaches.

For more information about The Guild Downtown | X Miami click here.

Speedway Boulevard Townhouse, Homestead Florida

Speedway Blv. Townhouse is in a quiet neighbourhood another nice location. It is easy to explore the Everglades with kids as well as the Florida Keys and Miami.

It has two bedrooms and is surrounded by beautiful garden views.

everglades with kids Everglades Kids
Everglades With Kids

The property doesn’t have a swimming pool. However, Homestead Bayfront Park is nearby a marina, a lagoon and a white-sand swimming beach.

One benefit of staying in Homestead is the town offers a free trolley ride to many of the historic places nearby including the Everglades at certain times of the year.

Find out about Speedway Blv. Townhouse here.

Everglades Activities for Kids: What to Bring

Before setting off on an adventure, it’s always good to be well-prepared.

  • Southern Florida is hot so don’t forget to pack sunscreen. Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen is a perfect choice if kids are active outside. It stays on while they are playing. Best of all there are no tears or stinging.
  • UV T-shirts are a great idea too. Rashguard has both long and short sleeve t-shirts to protect little ones from the sun outdoors.
  • Mosquitos are quite prevalent in the Everglades. Greenerways Organic Bug Spray for Kids or RiptGear Mosquito Bracelets can prevent kids from getting bites.
  • Another way to protect kids from the sun is a good sun hat. SwimZip Kid’s Sun Hats provide protection and shade for kids of all ages and come in a fantastic range of colours.
  • As the weather is hot, it is difficult to keep drinks cold. Portable coolers fit easily into the boot of a car and they can keep drinks cold for hours.

Florida Everglades Facts for Kids

Before visiting Everglades with kids, it may be a good idea to walk through what to expect when they arrive and some of the rules that they must follow.

The park is not a zoo, so the animals are not in cages and roam freely. While this is amazing it also means visitors need to pay attention.

Alligators are around many corners, especially on the Shark Valley Trail. You may be slower in winter and many of them are used to visitors, but rangers still advise you to keep your distance.

There are also many snakes including rattlesnakes. They usually scurry off when they hear noise, but it is a good idea to watch where you put your feet, especially on the grass.

With the heat in Florida, it is important to stay hydrated especially on trails with little to no shade. Bring water with you, but don’t eat any snacks along the trails as it may attract wildlife.

With all that being said, the Everglades National Park is an amazing place to get up close to nature and it is easy to understand why it is a popular place to visit with kids.

The Everglades Facts for Kids

To impress children, here are a few Everglades fun facts for kids.

  • The southeastern United States and China are the only locations where alligators are native. Alligators of the American subspecies are larger than those in China.
  • The Everglades is the only place in the world where both crocodiles and alligators live together. While they don’t hang out together, they live in the same region.
  • The Everglades is home to the Florida panther which is now one of the most endangered species on the planet.
  • The Everglades supplies drinking water to seven million people living in Florida.
  • It is the only subtropical wetland ecosystem in North America and there are only two seasons, wet and dry. 
  • The Everglades is the third-largest national Park, behind Yellowstone and Death Valley.
  • From Okeechobee Lake to the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, the Everglades flows 100 miles in a very slow manner, hence its nickname, River of Grass.
  • As a result of human actions such as draining or impounding the River of Grass and its surrounding wetlands, the Everglades have shrunk by 50%.
  • Everglades National Park has served as an essential buffer to slow storm intensity, protecting South Florida’s populated areas.
  • Everglades National Park boasts status as a World Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Significance, and an Outstanding Florida Water.

How To Get To The Everglades

Many families choose to include Everglade with kids on an RV trip. The Everglades is around an hour’s drive from downtown Miami.

There are two entrances to choose from, Homestead Entrance or Shark Valley Entrance. 

Shark Valley is the closest to Miami and is home to Shark Valley Visitor Center. The entrance is perfect for those wishing to take a tram tour or rent bikes to explore the river grass in the Everglades with kids.

Not to mention, Shark Valley Observation Tower which is the highest point of the park and has spectacular views.

The Homestead Entrance is a bit further from downtown Miami but it is the main entrance to the park. If you are camping this entrance leads to the campgrounds.

It is where the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, Flamingo Visitor Center and Royal Palm are located.

If you are in Orlando to visit Walt Disney World or Legoland and want to visit the Everglades with kids there are a few options. Depending on traffic it takes around four hours by car.

It is easy to rent a car and make the trip yourself. You may want to book a night or two at a hotel to give you more time to explore.

Another option is a guided tour. There are plenty of tours leaving Orlando. They run all day and last around 15 hours. They allow guests to combine the Everglades with Miami.

It includes an exhilarating airboat ride through the waters of the Everglades and a Miami boat tour to spot millionaires homes, and shop around at the Bayside Marketplace Mall.

Check out the Everglades Adventure & Miami Boat Tour.

Frequently Asked Questions Everglades With Kids

What is the location of Everglades National Park, and how do I get there?

The Everglades National Park spans three counties in South Florida. Monroe, Miami-Dade, and Collier.

There are three ways in which visitors can gain access to the park. First, Homestead is the main entrance to Everglades National Park, which connects visitors to the Royal Palm area and the Flamingo area of the park.

Other entrances include the Shark Valley entrance off U.S.41 and the Gulf Coast entrance in Everglades City.

Visitors can access the Everglades National Park by boat, kayak, or canoe from many of the surrounding marinas and launch points.

Is the Everglades Park equipped with lodging facilities?

Everglades National Park does not have any lodging facilities. However, the park has two campgrounds. The Long Pine Key Campground is near the Homestead entrance and Flamingo Campground at Flamingo.

Can we bring our pets to the Everglades National Park?

Pets are not allowed on the trails, however, the following areas allow pets at the moment:

  • In the vicinity of public facilities on the maintained ground
  • Highways open to public vehicular traffic
  • Camping and picnic areas in Flamingo and Long Pine Key campgrounds
  • On Boats

Are there any activities when visiting Everglades National Park with kids?

Taking advantage of cycling, hiking, kayaking, bird watching, air boating, fishing, and plenty of ranger programs are all available in the park.

There are a number of boardwalk trails, hence making it accessible for strollers. However, bikes and skateboards must stay off the boardwalks.

Can kids swim in Everglades National Park?

For safety reasons, Everglades National Park does not allow swimming for anyone, regardless of age.

All the park’s canals, ponds, freshwater lakes, marked channels, and boat basins are off limits for snorkelling and swimming.

Is it necessary for families to obtain a permit to camp in the Everglades?

Permits are necessary to camp in the Everglades all year round, regardless of the season. 

It is possible to obtain a license at the Flamingo or Gulf Coast Visitor Centers on a daily basis or by making an online reservation.

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Last update on 2023-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API