The weather turned a tad cool for water sports on a Sunday, so we set out driving south from Key Largo to see what we might find. My husband spotted the brown sign of Windley Key Fossil Reef around Milemarker 85 and we turned in to see what it might hold. The parking lot held a number of cars, so we figured something might be afoot. We stopped in at the Visitor Center, which had a helpful display of the geology of the Keys. We asked about the fee--no fee if all you want to do is look around the Ed Center; $2/person if you want to wander the grounds. $2?!? What a deal.
The ranger suggested that we take one of the tour books and walk on the paths (probably 5 or so to choose from). The book had information about the many numbered signpost. We headed out, picked a trail near the Visitor Center, and had a great time. The tour book had lots of fun information about trees, the several quarries, and the local history of the train down the Keys. The trails were clearly marked and well interconnected. None were long or strenuous; we spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around and learning about all sorts of unusual things. A very atypical Keys experience!
The major caveat is that, if we had happened there when the Visitor Center wasn't open, I assume you wouldn't have access to the marvelous tour book. Without that, you'd just be walking the footpaths without getting the full understanding. It's a nice area, but I don't think we'd have had as good a time without the extra knowledge. The Web site says that the Visitor Center is open 9 - 5 Fri. - Sun. So if you're heading there, try to time your visit to match those hours.
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