Shark Valley(I dunno why it has "shark" in the name) is within Everglades Natl Park. North/east area and about 45 minutes from Boca on Tamiami Trail.

 

We had NO insects but don't go near here when it's hot. Perfect bike ride(about 12 miles) half way you ride up to a viewing platform which is about 3 stories high and provides a 360 view of the everglades. Don't go here if your skittish about gators. I was glad I was on a bike. I saw 12-20 gators. 6-8 of them were less than 8 feet from me. (yikes!) There were pedestrian crowds close to the entrance but the trail quickly thinned-out once I got 1/3 mile out. Free if you bring your own bike(BYOB?) However you need to pay to get into the park. Bring water! I wanna go back . . .

We saw this bird EXTREMELY close up. Bird was 2-3 feet from the trail we were cycling on. I was amazed!! Bird was 2.5-3 feet tall and Not Shy either. Bird seemed to pose for pictures. Weird! Hung around him for several minutes and we wound up cycling. He never flew away!

closer

I saw many gators. I saw a momma with 6-10 babies. She *seemed* to be asleep. You are looking at a canal-like area of swamp water. This watery area is teeming with gators and water birds. This area runs side-by-side to your cycling trail. This makes viewing terrific! Of course one's proximity to the gators is alarming(in my opinion!). You can easily see The Everglades beyond the water and also on the opposite side of the cycling trail.

Most water birds eat fish so they like being elevated. Sight is better.

This guy "sees" sumthin'. He gets VERY still and riight before he strikes(lightening fast), his neck seems to get longer and head gets closer to the ground.

Bill & I stopped to look at something. I am on my way back from the Viewing Tower on a cycling path that winds through the Everglades. No canal-like water on this path.

Though we are entering the Dry Season, this ecosystem had standing water everywhere.

I believe this is part of the canal-like water that ran next to bicyclers as they went from start to Viewing Platform.(1st half) All kinds of wildlife can hide in this area. I missed alot of animals which later I could hear moving. I got better at spotting wildlife in time.

Gator was 15-18 feet from us!

Here is a photo of Everglades ...beyond water.

Scratcin' my head here!

Cool bird hunting ...intensely!

After we finished with the Viewing Platform we cycling on a winding path through the glades. Many of these pictures are from that path.

A deer? I dunno what this animal is! Animal was watching us ...carefully. Never got any closer.

????? Animal again.

Birds hunt the deeper water but many birds hunt the glades too. Glades are pretty!

By the way ....a tram , which holds 18-28 folks, traverse these trails too! Ya don't have to cycle them. I wanna go on a tram to catch the "ranger talk". I heard snippets as 3 trams passed me. I heard "History of national parks ....", "Indians used to set up their homes in ...", etc.