Flamingo gardens is a botanical garden and the home of Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary. This shit is one hell of a well-tended garden.
A narrated tram runs throughout the day to to take you through the different areas of the garden. It’s included in the entrance price and we enjoyed being able to see everything and learn what the heck the plants are and what they do without having to go on a 50 acre pilgrimage.
All of the animals that live here were brought to the facility after being rescued or confiscated from bullshit living conditions. They are not releasable due to their injuries or human imprinting that has rendered them unable to survive in the wild. I favor the black bear, Josh, and the otters. One of the otters has moose-sized balls and it’s a real treat to see his nuts bouncing around. I truly could watch those otters play and swim for hours.
There are birds all over the place. Peacocks strolling through the paths, herds of ibis, and a large aviary. The aviary is an open area with anhingas, ducks, roseate spoonbills, cormorants, herons, tortoises…it’s pretty dang cool to walk through and be surrounded by all of them.
My only concern is that unattended children could bother the animals, and I did see one boy taunting a cormorant and an owl. Luckily for him I was nearby to put him in his place and address the situation with his parents. I hope he sees me in his nightmares.
There are three Wildlife Encounters per day. These animals aren’t exploited as they are in other supposed sanctuaries that let you pay for interaction with animals that could cause stress. Three animals per day that have imprinted on people and have demonstrated an appropriate disposition are brought out to educate and explain how the sanctuary cares for their residents. This dude fed this opposum grapes and it was downright adorable.
Entry is $19.99/person which may seem a little high, but you can easily spend hours here and they are a non-profit organization so they need that cheddar. Big ass black bear ain’t tryna cut weight.
Would go again. Would make a special trip.