After visiting 3 Everglades National Park visitor centers, hands down the nicest center and friendliest staff were at Flamingo. Gulf Coast Visitor Center is very small, but does have some decent exhibits and a nice introductory movie (with about 3 seats to sit on!). they have a very limited amount of souvenirs for sale, but a nice array of books. Two rangers were working and one was very friendly. The other ranger never welcomed me to the center, nor thanked me for my purchases.
The 1:45 Mangrove boat tour is excellent. We were very happy we chose this tour. A 6
person boat, so very personable service! Our captain/host was Ted, a young man from WI. Ted has worked a variety of interesting seasonal jobs all over, from WI, TX, FL, and Alaska, plus Africa! So, he was fun and informative, both personally and professionally. We several birds, some crabs, couple dolphins, fish. The mangroves were the highlight, and going through the tunnel of trees (mangroves) was very exciting! Just being out on the water on a warm, sunny day was wonderful! $42 adult fare.
We also attended a 20 minute ranger talk on the FL panther and the snake population/problems. Very nice program.
There is a handicapped lift to take people to the 2nd floor visitor center. But walking around with a wheelchair, even a walker would be difficult. Too small an area. Small store. Gravel parking lot. Bathrooms were not in working order, but they did have chemical toilets, which were not too pleasant! No charge to enter this visitor center area, but there is a $10 entry fee at Flamingo or Shark Valley, which is good for 7 days.
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