We might be the few people who visit Miami and barely hang out in the city itself. As for Miami proper and learning about the city, I recommend HistoryMiami, a museum all about Miami, past and present. They have a really cool Miami Street Tradition Exhibit that I enjoyed and a comprehensive permanent collection that takes you back to Miami when it had direwolves living there to the Native Peoples who settled here before Europe arrived through present.
We visited South Beach by night... on a weekday, if you like restaurants hawking at you to come eat there, I guess that's fun. To be fair it was also September, it's a lull in Tourist season. I also bought Tim some tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld at the Performing Arts Center. That venue was fairly impressive. A hop over to the Winwood neighborhood made us feel like we were in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood as it seemed to be up and coming and held the local population of hipsters. The buildings all have eye-catching graffiti and there is a whole set of walls that invite artists to create a graffiti installment. That was a lot of fun, looked like a place to do some serious instagramming, as most were.
But anyway- enough with my very few Miami recommendations- onto the wildlife:
|On the Anhinga Trail, this gator was resting on land, drectly below us, standing on the boardwalk.|
|Saw lots of snakes, anoles, and tadpoles on the Gumbo Limbo Tree Trail.|
|At the Royal Palms Center, right outside the bathroom, a crowd gathered. Mom and her Brood!|
These babies were so fresh and tiny.
|These babies even gave a few chirps, to contact their mother, and stay together. Just FYI, baby gator chirps melt my heart, to the max.|
|Loggerhead shrikes were easy to spot, while driving. Takes a perch up on signs, the car acts as a perfect blind. These birds always seemed super shy, so stay in your car if you see one and put on your flashers and enjoy a little butcher bird.|
|Presuming the bird it was associating with was a parent. A mature bird with that characteristic pink turkey head that gives them their name, I personally have a big adoration for vultures and their ecological role.|
|White ibises (pictured) and little common ground doves also hung out on the lawns surrounding the Flamingo Center and parking lot.|
|On the recommendation of the ranger at the Flamingo center, we drove down to the Eco Pond before the camping area. Saw a mature bald eagle before the pond, then heard it calling later, while walking the pond.|
|The Eco Pond was a short walk (and thank goodness it was), about an 1/8 of a mile. It was also covered in biting flies and mosquitoes. But, it did have the only roseate spoonbills of the trip!|
The mosquitoes were never bad, if you were in an open area, especially if exposed to wind. But once you had wind breakers like trees, shrubs and thicket-- all bets are off, you turn into some good mammalian eating!
We drive back north from Flamingo, stopping at point of interest along the way to spy what we could. To be honest, the heat and mosquitoes got to us and any trails seemed not super interesting after getting assaulted in the Flamingo area by biting insects. And then the typical afternoon rain rolled though.
My recommendation when leaving the park, stop at Robert is Here, pet an emu, feed some goats, (wash your hands!), and get a delicious fruit milkshake!!! That made all the heat and biting insects worth it! I am so glad, my good friend Amy recommended this to us.