Today marks the seventieth anniversary of Everglades National Park in South Florida, the third largest national park in the lower United States.
According to the National Park Service, On Dec. 6, 1947, President Harry S. Truman traveled to Everglades City to dedicate Everglades National Park as the first national park set aside for its biologic uniqueness.
The event represented the culmination of over a 20-year effort to create the park and was attended by 4,000 people. Those present included well known names in Florida including John D. Pennekamp, Sen. Claude Pepper, Sen. Spessard Holland, Gov. Millard Caldwell and Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Before 1947, when Stoneman Douglas named The Everglades a "river of grass" in her book The Everglades: River of Grass most people considered the area worthless. She brought the world's attention to the need to preserve the Everglades.
Everglades National Park encompasses a million and a half acres between Miami, Key Largo and Naples.
IF YOU GO
Directions to Ernest Coe Visitor Center 40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034 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.
Fees and passes:
Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Per vehicle - $25.00
The entrance fee to the Everglades National Park is good for 7 consecutive days starting from the day of purchase.
Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Per Person/Cyclist - $8.00
The Everglades National Park charges an entry fee per person when an individual enters the main entrance station through a bike or by walking. The entrance fee is good for 7 consecutive days starting from the day of purchase. Individuals 16 years old and younger, are admitted free of charge.
Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Per Motorcycle - $20.00
The Everglades National Park entrance fee for motorcycles is good for 7 consecutive days starting from the day of purchase.
Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Commercial Motorcoach - $200.00
Entrance fees to the Everglades National Park are charged based on the seating capacity of the vehicle. Motorcoach (26 or more passengers)
Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Commercial Minibus - $100.00
Entrance fees to the Everglades National Park are charged based on the seating capacity of the vehicle. Minibus (16-25 passengers)
Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Commercial Van - $75.00
Entrance fees to the Everglades National Park are charged based on the seating capacity of the vehicle. Van (7- 15 passengers)
Everglades National Park Entrance Fee- Commercial Sedan - $25.00
Entrance fees to the Everglades National Park are charged based on the seating capacity of the vehicle. Sedan (1-6 passengers: $8 per person)
Everglades National Park Annual Pass - $40.00
The Annual Pass for the Everglades National Park is valid for 12 months starting from the day of purchase and is good for unlimited visits to the park during this period. These passes can be purchased at the Homestead and Shark Valley entrance stations or the Gulf Coast and Flamingo Visitor Centers. You can also purchase the senior park pass or pass for entry into all national parks at these locations.
Flamingo Visitor Center
The Flamingo Visitor Center offers educational displays, informational brochures, and backcountry permits. Campground facilities, a public boat ramp, a marina store, and other hiking and canoeing trails are located near the visitor center. Plan ahead for food and other needs, there are minimal services available. Visitors traveling to Flamingo through the main entrance or by boat, need to bring adequate food and water unless planning to eat at the Buttonwood Cafe or pick up basic supplies at the marina.
Ernest Coe Visitor Center
The Ernest Coe Visitor Center is open 365 days a year. It offers educational displays, orientation films, and informational brochures. Special collections by local artists are often displayed. Books, film, postcards, and insect repellent may be purchased in the adjoining bookstore. A series of popular walking trails begin only a short drive from the visitor center. Restrooms are available.
Shark Valley Visitor Center
Shark Valley Visitor Center offers educational displays, a park video and informational brochures. Books, postcards, and other souvenirs are available in the gift store. Guided tram tours, bicycle rentals, snacks and soft drinks are available from Shark Valley Tram Tours, Inc. Two short walking trails (one accessible), are located off the main trail for your enjoyment. Restrooms are available.
Gulf Coast Visitor Center
The Gulf Coast Visitor Center serves as the gateway for exploring the Ten Thousand Islands, a maze of mangrove islands and waterways that extends to Flamingo and Florida Bay accessible only by boat in this region. The visitor center offers educational displays, orientation films, informational brochures, and backcountry permits. Boat tours and canoe rentals are available. Restrooms are available. Restaurants, stores, lodging and campgrounds are located nearby.
More information is available at the National Park Services website for Everglades National Park.