Sparkles aplenty entertains tourists

Photos by Daniel Osiason

Gator Park, Shark Valley are among the hot spots


While tourists from around the globe visit the Everglades regularly, two hot spots that offer extra sparkle lie off the Tamiami Trail, which has been designated a National Scenic Byway. The one closer to Miami is Gator Park, which is 12 miles west of the Florida Turnpike. It has airboat rides, animal shows, a souvenir shop, and a swamp grill. The second place, another dozen miles further west, is Shark Valley, a seven-mile road that cuts into the heart of the Everglades.

At Gator Park, airboat rides garner special attention for the exuberance of tour guides with a passion for zipping over the flat water. Animal trainers tease tourists with tiny pets like scorpions and lizards. When it rains, tourists and trainers alike seek shelter.

Shark Valley is known for the mass of cyclists who come regularly. Visitors can rent bicycles and helmets. Shark Valley has engaging attractions for more passive visitors also. Some tram tour guides step into the mucky water by the road and bring along visitors brave enough to step in with them.

More like this: Everglades Camera Stories

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