Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples: Hours, Address, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Reviews: 4.5/5

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
4.5
Nature & Wildlife Areas
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8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
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About
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a 13,000 acre Preserve. The Sanctuary is open 7 days a week from 8:00am-3:00pm with last admission at 1:00 pm. Be sure to reserve your ticket online. Visitors will find a gentle, pristine wilderness that dates back more than 500 years. A 2.25 mile boardwalk meanders through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh and finally into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. These impressive trees, relatives of the redwood, tower 130 feet into the sky and have a girth of 25 feet. Their massive branches are draped with mosses, lichens, bromeliads and ferns. The forest is also home to alligators, otters, white-tailed deer and red-bellied turtles. A wide variety of wading birds, songbirds, raptors and the fabulous Painted Bunting can be seen here. Photo opportunities are available at every turn of the boardwalk trail.
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4.5
3,353 reviews
Excellent
2,348
Very good
715
Average
213
Poor
52
Terrible
25

Jewels115
49 contributions
Solo
A place to experience the real Florida. A 2.5 mile nature boardwalk loop trail through different Florida habitats also part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. There is a shorter loop trail, although the lookout tower is only accessible via the long loop.

You never know what wildlife will appear on your walk: alligators, anhingas, barred owls, red-shouldered hawks, egrets, herons, spoonbills, limpkins, raccoons, bobcats, turtles, anoles, otters, painted buntings, Carolina wren, warblers and more. The highly endangered Florida Panther has been seen by a few very lucky people. During the second half of summer and fall, the water levels in the swamp are high, thus wildlife is able to spread out over miles across the backcountry, thus wildlife near the boardwalk may be scarce. Winter months are a good time to visit, however, the best time to visit is during April and May, when wildlife amass at Lettuce Lake due to “the great dry out”. Yes, Florida had a dry season.

While mosquitos aren’t usually an issue in the swamp due to fish that eat their larva, yellow biting flies are an issue during April and May. Wear lightweight long sleeves shirts and long pants, because those flies are relentless.

In July or August, the rare Ghost Orchid blooms. You need strong binoculars or a super zoom telephoto lens to get a good look at the orchid because it grows high up a tree. The area were the orchid blooms is marked.

Currently, the sanctuary requires reservations be made via their website. Reservation times are every quarter hour from 8:00am to 1:00pm. Admission: $17 for adults. $6 for kids ages 6-14. 5 and under are free. I believe there are college and military discounts available. Wheelchairs and strollers are allowed on the boardwalk.

Guided educational small group tours are available for a higher price. I highly suggest the sunset tour or night walk tour. I have taken both. You will see birds, birds and more birds flying into the trees at lettuce lake to roost. Watch sunset from the tower. Look for alligators and frogs in the dark with a red flashlight.

Also, once you get onto sanctuary road, be on the look out for Wild Turkeys, Sandhill Cranes, and White-tailed Deer after passing the farm.
Written April 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

globetrotter
Miami Beach, FL30 contributions
This sanctuary is a hidden gem that will be savored by true nature lovers.

As the website says, tickets must be purchased online in advance. Have the QR code ready on your phone when you walk in, as well as a mask. The cell reception is spotty there, which is why you should not wait to purchase when you arrive. There was plenty of parking. The cost is high, but it is worth it, and may help keep the crowds away.

The boardwalk is about 2 miles long and well maintained. Taking my time I walked the full walk with stops at all observation decks in 1:45 min. Most of it is shaded (though not all). There is a restroom before the entrance and place to refill your water (though the water tasted a little off).

For those of you who truly appreciate communing with Nature, you may want to try to get there close to opening time at 8 am. I went at 10, and while I enjoyed it, there were enough people present (and LOUD) that I knew we weren't going to see much wildlife. Seriously, I heard people talking loudly about why they couldn't find more wildlife. The place is like a church but ruined by people in strong cologne who don't understand that animals flee the instant they hear/sell us. This ruins the experience for the animals and people who came all of that way to see them.

If you have binoculars bring them and consider silence for an hour or two, so you can hear the woodpeckers pecking, herons chatting, squirrels rustling in leaves, and the wind. Due to declining numbers of Florida panthers (a ranger told me the number has gone from 120 to 101 in the last year thanks to cars hitting them), you should not expect to see one.

The last comment I'll make is that there was a disturbing number of animals killed on the roads leading up to the sanctuary, esp from the south heading north, thanks to careless drivers. I saw 2 killed river otters within a mile, and countless birds. It would be wonderful if the Sanctuary could advocate for signage that protects wildlife/discourages speeding in the area. I saw such signs for bears and panthers through the Panther NWR, so it is possible. It was sad to see so many killed in the area, including hawks and a wood stork.
Written December 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Carol D
Alton Bay, NH125 contributions
Couples
On our way to the sanctuary I researched & found admission was $17 each AND had to be purchased prior to our arrival. Binoculars are available to rent once you enter the building for $3. Wheelchairs also available but saw no sign about the cost. We arrived at 9:30, binoculars around our neck along with a sling to carry our ice cold water bottle. Temp expected to reach 88 degrees. Clean/well maintained restrooms are outside the main entrance. By the time we left, after going into the shop to buy water for our 90minute ride home, we’d walked 2.6 miles. The shop sells jewelry, T-shirts, metal figures, etc. Being avid birdwatchers we strolled along slowly. Randomly along the handicapped accessible wood boardwalk there are sections of shade & wood benches to rest, some with a roof overhead. The boardwalk closes at 3pm. We saw countless birds, singing, flying & perched in trees and in the water & heard many more. Butterflies, lizards, dragonflies, turtles, a raccoon & a few gators. Was a pleasurable day outdoors!
Written March 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MarieSrq
1 contribution
Don’t be late!!! We have been wanting to visit this park for a long time. We live in Sarasota (almost 2 hours away) and purchased 3 tickets on Friday morning for the 1:00 pm tour. We drove down, hit slow traffic and the trip took longer then expected. There is a notice that says the latest you can arrive is 1:30. Because of the delay in traffic that was out of our control - we did not arrive until 1:35. There was a gentleman at the entrance closing the gate to the parking lot (who was polite) but he wouldn’t even let us in the parking lot. He said the gate to the boardwalk closes at 1:30. I tried to explain what happened and he was firm that we couldn’t go on the boardwalk. I asked if we could go to the front office and get a refund & he told us we should call the office to get a refund. He wouldn’t even let us turn around in the parking lot, we had to back down the driveway. I waited until Monday, called the office to get a refund or credit since we couldn’t use the tickets. I explained what happened and the woman in the office said I could only get a refund the day before our appt (which made NO sense since I bought the tickets the same day). I explained the situation again & asked if I could have a credit and try to visit another day. She told me she would look into it and Never called me back. I feel that this was very unfair - I understand we were late & couldn’t go in but please don’t just take our money and ignore us. The right thing to do would be refund or credit the money. I’m sad to say that at this point we will not try to visit this park again and I will be posting this review to several sites.
Written July 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lewis W
Greensboro, NC90 contributions
One of the best natural areas we have ever visited. It's a 2+ mile boardwalk where you stroll through varied ecosystems representative of SW Florida. It includes the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. After a slow start due to unusually cold weather, the wildlife exploded into view with multitudes of Ibis, egrets, several types of herons, woodpeckers, anhinga, warblers, etc. There were raptors in the air and even a Barred Owl calling in the distance. We also saw an alligator as well as a wide variety of water based and epiphytic plants. Our photos won't do it justice - you have to visit. Preregistration is required online and entry closes at 1 pm. Pick a warm day (not hard for FL) and plan on spending 2-4 hours if you love nature. And bring your binoculars.
Written February 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

bittersweetz22
Villa Park, IL14 contributions
Family
Our experience was mediocre . We went at the last entrance of the day at 1 pm which I think is too late in the day to see the animals . You have to be off the boardwalk at 3pm so they will hurry you along to make sure you’re staying on time . Also we had little kids with us who were impatient and pry would have been better to take them to the zoo as we would have seen way more animals . We ended up seeing like 6 gators towards the end of the walk and some bugs . Nothing else . If you go you should pry go early and take your time , grab binoculars . If you’re debating doing this or the zoo with young kids , do the zoo .
Written June 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

McMac75
6 contributions
This is a very nice place for a walk. We saw some delightful raccoons, a snake, several birds. I believe we may have been able to see more wildlife except for the very noisy patrons all over. It seems a few more ‘Please be quiet signs’ would be welcome. Just so many noisy adults and children. It was also quite crowded, which was surprising since reservations are needed.

We have been to many other nature areas and none were as noisy as this one. Perhaps an off day, but visitors here certainly don’t take the nature viewing too seriously.
Written December 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kcby
49 contributions
It was a nice 2 hour stroll along the boardwalk. We went early morning and the weather was nice so it felt good to be outdoors. They are limiting the number of people to enter at certain times so it wasn’t too crowded. Unfortunately, we didn’t see too many animals: just a raccoon and baby raccoon, and one alligator. There were many birds. We could hear a woodpecker most of the 2 hours we were there. Educational placards were all along the trails so you could learn quite a bit about the animals and area.
Written February 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

The Pidge
Wayne, NJ482 contributions
Hard to believe it took nearly two decades of traveling to SW Florida to finally discover this gem. Be prepared for a lot of walking and make sure to load up on bug spray, but also be prepared for an amazing walk through a stunning environment with towering cypresses and an abundance of wildlife.

Note: Pandemic-based restrictions mean tickets are extremely limited (I was told about 80 people per day) so it pays to reserve far ahead of time.
Written November 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

marygracematthews
Miami, FL11 contributions
The Sanctuary itself is amazing. Customer experience and customer service, however, is very lacking. It is not cheap to go here.

(1) In the Covid era, you now have to make reservations, and they close earlier. Last time to come in is 1:15. If you're even 5 minutes late you're turned away, and Kathy isn't particularly nice about it.

(2) They are pressure washing the boardwalk during visitation hours. This completely destroys the peacefulness of the experience, and deters birds. I understand that it needs to be done - but do it in non-visitation hours, particularly now that you're closing so early!
Written September 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is open:
  • Sun - Sat 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM