Tag Archives: everglades national park

Junior Ranger Day and the First Annual Flamingo Day at Everglades National Park

HOMESTEAD, Fla.: Kids of all ages are invited to come learn how to, “explore, learn, and protect” your national park on Saturday, March 21, and become an official Junior Ranger! Junior Ranger Day is an annual event that highlights youth in national parks, and special activities are planned at the Shark Valley, Royal Palm and Flamingo areas.  As a special treat for Junior Rangers and their families, the First Annual “Flamingo Day” is adding even more special programs and speakers.   In honor of Junior Ranger Day, free park entrance is provided to Junior Ranger Day participants and their families.

“I’d like to invite all of our neighbors to come experience everything in a single day that makes the Everglades special! This event will be fun and educational for all age groups and backgrounds,” said Superintendent Pedro Ramos. “With such a variety of ranger-led activities there will be something for everyone in the family to enjoy. It will be a great day to deputize anyone wanting to be a Junior Ranger, and our First Annual Flamingo Day adds extra incentive to visit this special part of the park.”

Junior Ranger Activity Guides are available in English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole and may be obtained at any of the park visitor centers. The program is designed for kids aged 8 to 12 years old, but is available to kids of all ages! On Junior Ranger Day, kids can participate in special activities at the park and earn a Junior Ranger Badge.

Junior Ranger Day 2015: Free ranger-led activities, including walks, talks, games and tours.
Junior Ranger Day 2015: Free ranger-led activities, including walks, talks, games and tours.

Junior Ranger Day activities include:

Flamingo Visitor Center – located 38 miles southwest of the Main Park Entrance, which is located 10 miles southwest of Homestead (40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, Florida).

Children participating in the Junior Ranger Program will complete a workbook that teaches them to appreciate Flamingo’s resources and to inspire the next generation of stewards.  The First Annual Flamingo Day provides added benefits for everyone to join park rangers for a variety of programs to learn about, observe, and experience the region’s flora, fauna, ecosystems, and astronomy.  The day will begin with a canoe trip at Nine Mile Pond and bird walks around Flamingo. Throughout the day there will be crocodile, manatee, and python presentations, guided walks, another canoe trip, and discussions about the tropical life that makes the Everglades a special place. The day will conclude with evening presentations about exploring the backcountry, an introduction to astronomy and stars, a star-lit canoe trip on Florida Bay, and a star party with astronomers.

In addition to the ranger-guided activities, guest researchers and enthusiasts from the local community will give presentations about their projects and experiences in Everglades National Park. Frank Mazzotti, a professor with the University of Florida, will highlight his decades of researching crocodiles. Peter Frezza, a researcher with the Everglades Science Center, will discuss a history of exploration and research, from John James Audubon through current studies. Roger Hammer, award-winning professional naturalist, author, botanist, and photographer, will talk about his vast experiences in the park. Gil Muratori, a local veteran fishing guide, will share his stories and strategies of fishing in the Everglades.

All Junior Ranger Day/Flamingo Day programs and presentations are free and open to the general public. Reservations are only required for canoe trips; limited seating is available.  For more information, including a detailed schedule for Flamingo Day, visit the park’s website at: http://nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/Flamingo-Day-2015.htm, or contact the Flamingo Visitor Center at 239-695-2945.

Shark Valley Visitor Center – located on U.S. Highway 41 between Miami and Naples, about 25 miles west of the Florida Turnpike in Miami.

Aspiring Junior Rangers and their families will be treated to a FREE guided tram ride through the Everglades. Seating is limited so reservations must be made in advance by calling 305-242-7753. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by a two and one-half hour guided tram tour. Participants will then gather for a picnic lunch (please bring your own), with time for Junior Rangers to complete their activity guides.  At 2 p.m., a ceremony will be held to award the new Junior Rangers with their badges. (Please note, participants will be asked to sign a photo/video release.)  Short ranger talks, guided walks, a touch table, and exhibits for kids will be available for all from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Join us for all or part of the day!

Royal Palm – located near the Main Park Entrance, which is located about 10 miles southwest of Homestead (40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, Florida).

The Junior Ranger event takes place from 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and families may proceed at their own pace.  An Open House style event begins with registration at Royal Palm. Rangers will be stationed along the Anhinga Trail with activities for children.  All participants will receive Junior Ranger Badges and Patches upon completion of the program. For more information about Junior Ranger Day, please visit:http://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/kidsyouth/upload/JR-Day-Flyer-2015.pdf

To RSVP, call the Loop Road Education Center at 305-242-7753.

Free transportation and entrance to the park is available on the Homestead National Parks Trolley, operating between the City of Homestead and the Royal Palm area every weekend through April 26. The Trolley schedule is available at this website: http://www.cityofhomestead.com/index.aspx?nid=357

For your safety, visitors are encouraged to consider personal comfort needs and bring water, sunscreen, and appropriate footwear.  Junior Rangers are asked to wear long pants, socks and closed-toed shoes.  Hope to see you and your kids at Junior Ranger Day on March 21!

WHAT:         Annual Junior Ranger Day, First Annual Flamingo Day; free park entrance to Junior Ranger Day participants and their families.

WHEN:        Saturday, March 21, 2015.

WHERE:      Flamingo, Royal Palm, and Shark Valley.

(Click here for directions: http://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/directions.htm

Free 5th Annual “Vintage Day” Celebration at Everglades National Park!

HOMESTEAD, Fla.: Homeschoolers can get a taste of living history at the Fifth Annual Vintage Day Celebration at Everglades National Park on Saturday, March 7, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to interact with costumed characters representing the “dreamers and schemers” that shaped Everglades National Park as we know it today.  There will also be special tours and presentations by local authors and historians.

Guests can leave their cars at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center and ride back in time on the Homestead National Parks Trolley to Royal Palm, where they can complete a souvenir newspaper by chatting with the likes of Henry Flagler, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Guy Bradley, Arthur R. Marshall, Barron Collier, Ernest Coe, and Zora Neale Hurston.  Also represented will be Gladesmen, plume hunters, early park wardens, botanists, conservationists, and Cold War era soldiers.   The Homestead National Parks Trolley will also be providing its regularly scheduled free transportation to the park from Losner Park in historic downtown Homestead.

Guest speakers will include author and activist Audrey Peterman, Florida International University Professor Peter Machonis, historian Cesar Becerra, and Mark Pafford, CEO of the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation.

Guided tours of the old Royal Palm State Park will also be available. This historical area was owned and protected by the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs in the first half of the twentieth century and became the nucleus for Everglades National Park. There will also be guided walks of the Gumbo Limbo Trail led by botanists, as well as a special tour of the historic Nike Missile Base.

In honor of the park’s Vintage Day Celebration, free admission will be provided to all visitors at the main park entrance near Homestead, and all Vintage Day activities are free of charge.

WHAT:  Fifth Annual Vintage Day Celebration; free park admission for all visitors at the main park entrance near Homestead.

WHEN:  Saturday March 7, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE:  Royal Palm.  Visitors coming from the Miami area and points north should take the Florida Turnpike (Route 821) south until it ends merging with U.S. 1 at Florida City. Turn right at the first traffic light onto Palm Drive (State Road 9336/SW 344th St.) and follow the signs to the park. Visitors driving north from the Florida Keys should turn left on Palm Drive in Florida City and follow the signs to the park.

For more information, call (305) 242-7700 (during regular business hours, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).

Vintage Event Day, NPSPhoto.  Cast from Left to Right: Julie Abreu, Ivy Kelley, Tom Marquardt (Gladesman), Christiana Admiral (Ligger's wife), Laura Marquardt (May Mann Jennings), Jacqueline Ayala, Elsa Alvear, Cesar Becerra, David Webb (Land Developer), Karen Girard (Al capone's gal), Frankie Arranzamendi (Al Capone), Matt Garrison (Al's right hand man), Eric Raitts (Gladesman), Barbara Hedges (Marjory Stoneman Douglas). NPS Photo
Vintage Event Day, NPSPhoto.
Cast from Left to Right: Julie Abreu, Ivy Kelley, Tom Marquardt (Gladesman), Christiana Admiral (Ligger’s wife), Laura Marquardt (May Mann Jennings), Jacqueline Ayala, Elsa Alvear, Cesar Becerra, David Webb (Land Developer), Karen Girard (Al capone’s gal), Frankie Arranzamendi (Al Capone), Matt Garrison (Al’s right hand man), Eric Raitts (Gladesman), Barbara Hedges (Marjory Stoneman Douglas). NPS Photo