Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

This post is sponsored by The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.

As always, thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Located in the heart of the Western Everglades, Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is the ideal destination for visitors looking for a place of quiet serenity and unmatched natural beauty. Located about 30 minutes east of Naples and Bonita Springs, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, and red-bellied turtles. A wide variety of wading birds, songbirds, raptors and the fabulous Painted Bunting can be seen throughout the year. Photo opportunities are available at every step of the boardwalk trail.

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Protected by the National Audubon Society since 1954, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary comprises more than 13,000 acres of rare, pristine, undeveloped wildlife habitat. A 2.5 mile boardwalk winds through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh, and finally into the largest old-growth bald cypress forest in North America. It was originally established to protect this largest remaining stand of ancient bald cypress. During the 1940s and 50s, cypress forests in Florida were being leveled for their timber, and the National Audubon had protected the wading birds nesting within Corkscrew Swamp since 1912 and realized that the forest must be saved.

Birdwatchers from around the world celebrate the sanctuary as one of the premier destinations on the Great Florida Birding Trail. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is considered the “crown jewel” in the network of National Audubon Society nature centers, and hosts 100,000 visitors annually. It is a National Natural Landmark, a Ramsar-designated “Wetland of International Importance,” and a member of the Old-Growth Forest Network.

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The Corkscrew "Super" Ghost Orchid (Dendrophylax lindenii) is a popular biological attraction each summer as it continues to produce many flowers year after year. This orchid has drawn attention from around the world as it is the largest ghost orchid discovered so far. While during our visit in June of 2019, we didn’t get to see the orchid in bloom, we were in awe at the hundreds of other forms of biological wonders that flourish in the sanctuary.

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The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is an absolute must see when you are visiting the Fort Myers & Sanibel area.