Thursday, January 2, 2014

Flamingo Gardens

One of Daxton and I's fun adventures in November was to a local wildlife sanctuary called Flamingo Gardens.  

(Below text was taken from the website
Flamingo Gardens is 60 acres of Tropical Paradise!
The Wray Botanical Collection features over 3000 species of rare & exotic, tropical, subtropical, and native plants and trees. The Everglades Sanctuary is home to the largest collection of Florida native wildlife including alligators, bobcats, eagles, otters, panthers, peacock, and of course, flamingos.
Established in 1927, Flamingo Gardens is one of the oldest botanical gardens in South Florida. Originally founded by Floyd L. and Jane Wray as an orange grove, the not-for-profit botanical garden is home to 20 “Champion” trees, the largest trees of their species, including the largest tree in Florida. Specialized gardens, including a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, Croton Garden, and Bromeliad Garden dot the main Arboretum. The centerpiece of the gardens is a natural hammock of 200 year-old Live Oaks dripping with species orchids and epiphytes.
Nestled in and around the gardens, the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary is home to over 90 species of Florida native birds and animals, most of whom are permanently injured or non-releasable.The half-acre Free-flight Aviary boasts over 250 wading birds representing over 45 species, and the Bird of Prey Center houses one of the largest raptor collections in the United States.
Flamingo Gardens is owned and operated by the Floyd L. Wray Memorial Foundation, Inc. The Floyd L. Wray Memorial Foundation was established in 1969 by Mrs. Wray in honor of her late husband to preserve the core property for future generations and emphasize the history of the Florida Everglades.

I ended up getting a membership, since it paid for itself within a couple visits.  Daxton and I ended up having a blast.  The grounds were absolutely stunning with thick vegetation and fun trails to explore.  Daxton loved running up and down the paths and I loved how there were not too many people there, so it felt like we had the park to ourselves.

Several birds roamed the grounds freely, but we loved interacting with the peacocks most.  Several approached Daxton's stroller out of curiosity, but he got a little nervous when they walked too close.
What beautiful creatures.
I love the detailed, colorful feathers.

Exploring the Flamingo Pond...

There were hundreds of beautiful birds throughout the park, several of which were free roaming.  Daxton loved watching them as long as it was from a distance.  There were a couple times when a large group of them got too close to him and he freaked out, wanting to be held.
One of the things I have come to love the most about living in the south are all the gorgeous oak trees covered in Spanish moss.  It really is beautiful and so different from the West coast.
The thing Daxton loves most...
His independence!
He is so strong willed and curious.  He loves to explore and run...always running :)

His other new love is climbing.
He loves to climb on any and everything he possibly can.
He has turned into such a little boy!
Watching all the turtles...

We found some huge tortoises, but he was not happy til he was out of his stroller exploring again...
We ended our adventurous day by watching the animal rehabilitation show.  They showed us several different animals that had been rescued including an owl and an opossum.
Overall it was a great day and very educational.
I love introducing my little man to different things.  I realize he won't remember most of our adventures, but the best thing for a child's education is exposure.
Not to mention, I love each of the adventures just as much as he does!

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