The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
The Corkscrew Swamp is a nature lover’s and photographer’s delight, near Naples Florida. It's home to a plethora of Florida wildlife and birds.....a top Florida attraction not to be missed!
The Corkscrew Swamp is home to one of the largest bald cypress forests, remaining on the North American continent.
There’s also wet prairie, pond cypress, lettuce lakes and pine flatwood habitats, as well.
There are plenty of signs which will help you identify habitats, plants, and observation areas, as you make your way along the boardwalk.
This is a beautiful section of preserved land in the heart of the Florida Everglades, teaming with wildlife and birds.
When most people hear the word 'swamp', they envision a stagnant pond of green, smelly water with dead trees. This swamp is different than anything I've ever seen. Unrivaled beauty and absolutely no odors whatsoever.
One of the things I loved best about the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.... the wonderful sounds of the animals and the birds! It was peaceful and relaxing. It was landscape like I’d never seen before. Absolutely extraordinary!
This video was produced by Audubon Florida, on the Corkscrew Swamp.
Very informative and breath-taking footage
of the real, true landscape of Old Florida.
I'm honoured to host it on this website.
What to Expect at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
The cost of admission at the Corkscrew is very reasonable.
Adults $10, Full time college student with id, $6, Student (6-18 yr) $4 and kids under 6 are free. If you’re a member of the National Audubon Society, entrance is $5.
In my opinion, this is a bargain, especially is you’re looking for family things to do in Naples. It’s a perfect place to take a family.
The raised boardwalk is well maintained and safe.
Anyone in a wheelchair, with a cane, kiddie stroller can expect smooth even terrain throughout.
The complete length of the boardwalk is 2 ¼ miles long, but if you don’t wish to spend the time, or are unable to do the full length, there is a ‘shortcut’, which trims the distance to around 1 mile.
There’s also plenty of benches too, where one can sit and rest and just take it the wonderful sights and sounds of nature. About 90% of the walk is in the shade, so the walk is nice and cool, even on a very hot day.
What Will I See?
When l was leaving the Corkscrew Swamp on my most recent visit, I had several people stop me and ask me if the visit was worthwhile.
They wanted to know if I ‘saw’ any birds and animals.
YES, it’s absolutely worthwhile!
Depending on what time of the year you visit the Corkscrew Swamp, will determine which of the Florida wildlife and Florida birds you’ll see.
There are volunteer rangers along the boardwalk, to answer questions and point out various things of interest. Their knowledge is invaluable! I spoke to several during my visit, and their insight helped make my experience to the swamp, much more meaningful, than had I just wandered around on my onw. They also have very powerful telescopes set on various animals and birds, which would be otherwise difficult to see with the human eye.
On my visit I saw:
- a momma alligator with several eggs and a few ‘fresh babies’ which had just hatched, on her back, as well as a VERY big gator swimming by one of the look out points
- cottonmouth snake (yuk)
- king fishers
- hawk chicks
- red shouldered hawk
- turtles, lizards, dragonflies, butterflies, and lots of gorgeous lush tropical trees and vegetation.
I was chatting with a volunteer, and he said that there weren't many animals in the swamp at this time due to the water levels. When the water levels are low, there is more food, which of course attracts the animals and birds. I thought I saw lots of creatures, but it's possible to see much more than I did!
You can call ahead to the center, and ask what animals and birds are being sighted.
What you’ll see at the Corkscrew Swamp, will depend on the season and the time of day. If there are noisy people there during your visit, they’ll scare away the creatures that are close to the boardwalk.
One of the Audubon volunteers said that when there’s too much water in the swamp, there are fewer animals. When the water levels are low, food is scarce, thus fewer animals in the swamp.
Don’t discount your visit to the swamp, if you don’t see all of the Florida wildlife and Florida birds you had hoped to see. Enjoy the spectacular sights and sounds of the way Florida was when it was first discovered years ago.
Best Tips for Visitors to the Corkscrew Swamp
- Take a bottle of water with you on the walk.
- Take your camera and binoculars for the best experience.
- Allow a minimum of 2.5 hr. Don’t rush. See and experience all you can.
- Great for families and kids. Don’t recommend letting little kids run ahead on the boardwalk. Some of the creatures like the boardwalk too!
- Eat before you go on the walk. It can be a long time until you can grab a snack.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Leave your cell phone in the car, or shut it off. It disturbs the wildlife and birds.
- Be prepared for rain. The Corkscrew Swamp is still enjoyable to tour in the rain, but bring a raincoat and an umbrella.
- Be sure to visit the great gift shop. There are lots of fun novelty items and some great educational items and books too.
Florida Wildlife and Florida Birds
There are numerous creatures to be found at different times of the year at the Corkscrew Swamp.
The Audubon Society has a ‘Wildlife Checklist’ available on their website, which you can print and take with you on your adventure in the swamp.
The Rare Ghost Orchid
The ghost orchid is a rare sight, and it can be found in the Corkscrew Swamp.
In the summer of 2007, a very large ghost orchid was found here at the swamp. It’s called the ‘Super Ghost’ as it grows taller than most plants, with 11 blooms, highly unusual for a ghost orchid.
Southwest Florida Attractions
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of the finest Florida attractions. If you’re looking for things to do in Naples, the swamp is close by and provides an exciting ½ day adventure.
There’s the Everglades Museum, Ringling Museum of Art, Circus Sarasota, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Swamp Buggy Races, Mote Marine Aquarium, Gatorama and the Naples Zoo, just to name a few of the many other attractions in the area!
Address: 375 Sanctuary Road West, Naples Florida 34120
Location: Northeast of Naples Florida. Go to Sanctuary Road W, follow to the end. The Sanctuary is about 15 miles east on I-75, east of Exit #111. Look for the signs along Immokalee Road. Do not take Exit #123, which is Corkscrew Road!
Hours of Operation
Open every day of the year, except during periods of violent weather.
October 1- April 10 from 7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
April 11 – September 30 from 7:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Note: Entrance to the Corkscrew Swamp must be one hour prior to closing time.
I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful preserve in the heart of Southwest Florida. It's a must see whether a Florida resident or a visitor to the area. I guarantee you'll see SOMETHING at the Corkscrew Swamp that you haven't seen before!
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