Big Cypress NP

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The Big Cypress National Preserve provides crucial freshwater to the Everglades. The swamp filters water which flows southwest into the coastal Ten Thousand Islands region of Everglades National Park.


The Preserve is host to a myriad of flora and fauna. Cypress trees, mangroves, alligators and crocodiles call this place home. The endangered Florida panther lives here too, but the only one we saw was this sculpture outside one of the visitor centers.


We stopped at Big Cypress National Preserve on our way to Orlando after spending the morning at the Gulf Coast side of Everglades National Park. First, we stopped at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center. You can take a virtual tour of this visitor center here. They have a boardwalk that leads to an observation platform in the swamp. Sometimes manatees hang out there, but we didn’t see any that day.

Our next stop was the Oasis Visitor Center. It’s about a half-hour further down Tamiami Trail from the Welcome Center. This building was once a small airport, complete with an old plane on its roof. The park service purchased it and modernized it in the 1980s.

At this visitor center, we learned about the rare Florida panther and in the swamp in front of the center, we saw more alligators than we’d seen all morning in the Everglades. And some turtles too! I found these phone videos on my laptop recently. They are from an older phone and not great quality, but you can see how close visitors are to the alligators.

Big Cypress Area Posts►

Location: 52105 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, Florida 34141
Designation: National Preserve
Date designated/established: October 11, 1974
Date of my visit: April 2016