Land Shark Valley

Even if you don't have an unwanted pet python, take a trip to the Everglades this weekend

This September, PBS will be airing a new film series called The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Truer words have perhaps never been written or spoken. The US is spectacularly beautiful and has a number of unique and varied landscapes. Thanks to the National Park Service, these places are preserved for our fascination and for the wildlife that lives there. God bless America.

Thanks to Marjory Stoneman Douglas, writer, feminist and environmentalist, we are still located on the edge of one of the most valuable preserved landscapes in the world. That huge swamp just south and west of you, the Everglades, stretching 100 miles from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico -- yeah, that’s it.

One of the best ways to enjoy the “river of grass” is by heading down to Shark Valley. Just a short ride down Calle Ocho will bring you into the heart of the Everglades. The name is confusing for outsiders, since there will be no sharks in sight. There will, however, be plenty of gigantic alligators sunning along the trails, posing for pics. You can literally take a hike, bike or a tram ride on 15 miles of flat paved trails, comfortably, through this inhospitable landscape.

The wildlife is abundant and the greenery impressive. Believe it or not, it’s not all grass, gators, and mosquitoes, but lush canopies to stroll through and tropical hardwood forests as well. From the observation tower, you can feel like king (or queen) of the sawgrass.

It’s summer and it’s hot, so get there early; the park opens at 9:15. Ten dollars gets you a week’s worth of exploring.

For more of Liz Tracy's Miami missives, visit her blog, Miami, bro.

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