|Bike Riding at Shark Valley|
At Shark Valley, you can take a narrated tram ride through the loop trail, rent Bicycles, bring your own bikes, or you can walk the loop. No vehicles besides the tram are allowed on the loop. Nadia and I decided to bring our own bikes and explore. Actually, it was my idea and Nadia thought I was just plain crazy.
|Alligators a long the trail|
As soon as we started out, we ran into our first of many gator sightings for the day.
Along the loop were 3 small nature trails.
|One of the three Nature Trails|
There was a sign at the beginning of the nature trail that said, "watch for solution holes." I did not know what this was, so a solution hole is when limestone erodes or is dissolved because of a mixture of rainfall and weak acid produced by decaying leaves. These holes were big, some were bigger than my foot! So you really need to pay attention when walking on this path. You can read more about solution holes here.
When we came out of this trail, Nadia and I heard a really huge growl and splash of an alligator. You need to keep your eyes open. We did not see him, he was in the water across the path. I heard a lot of sounds that I had never heard before from these gators. It was really neat.
Enjoying the sights as we peddled.
Oh my! What is that? The Observation Tower! We are half way done.
The views from the top of the tower:
After we rested and had a little snack, we went on the nature trail near the entrance to the tower.
Keep an eye out for wildlife:
Can you spot the bird and alligator below:
The bike ride back was very refreshing, but very hard. The wind was blowing very strong right at us.
When we reached mile 10, we were really struggling. We were not in shape and needed a bigger bike seat, a fluffy one. It helped to just get off the bike and walk beside it for a while.
We are almost done!
We did it! We passed by one more nature trail, but we decided to go grab a snack and come back to it.
After we had some more water and a snack, we went back to the Bobcat Boardwalk Nature Trail. It was a nice. Now to get back on the bikes and pedal to the car.
Shark Valley Everglades Guided Tram Tour - $24.00 from Viator
Join this 2-hour Shark Valley tram tour for an in-depth look through the northern region of Everglades National Park. This naturalist led tour is conducted on board an open air tram introducing you to the "River of Grass" and the wildlife inhabiting it. At the midway point, you'll have the opportunity to stroll up the spiral ramp way and platform of the Shark Valley observation tower, allowing a panoramic view of the heart of the Everglades.
Here are some tips from my experience:
- Plan to arrive early and I would advise that you go in the winter months.
- We did not have any problems with mosquitoes on the day we went, but I brought spray just in case.
- Wear lots of sunscreen. Bring sunscreen to reapply with you during the day. I only used my spray kind before we left and I looked like a blotchy purple monster for a week after.
- Bring lots of water. We used our hydro packs.
- Also, do not trust your GPS to get you here, mine took us an hour out of the way only to circle us back to where we were. By the time we arrived at the park, the parking lot was full and we had to park on the Tamiami Trail, which was not a problem until you had to back out into traffic. That was SCARY for me.
- Keep a close eye on your kids and your surroundings
It took us about 3.5 hours to bike the 15 mile loop. I am very sure that others could do this faster.