on August 13, 2007
When first pulling into the parking lot of the Shark Valley Loop there isn’t a lot to see. You have to take the trail out into the Everglades. There are three ways to explore the Glades. You can walk the 15 mile trail to observation tower. Or you can rent a bike and bike the 15 miles (the bikes look like they’ve been around the block a few times and be sure to give yourself enough time to get your bike back in time). Or you can pay $14.50 and tram it. I highly recommend the tram. First of all, we were their in July and it was hot. The tram has a roof to block the sun and when the trams moving there is a nice breeze. Plus the Tram Tour Guide is phenomenal. She provides endless information and knows exactly where to stop and point out the details you don’t notice on your own. For example, we saw a nest of baby alligators that we would have gone right past without out fearless leader. Once you make it to the observation tower the tram gives you about 15 – 20 minutes to enjoy the view. That is plenty of time to check everything out and search the ponds for some gators. We did see a gator out for a swim.The overall tram ride was about two hours which is the prefect length of time. The everglades are a stop for any trip to southern Florida, and the Shark Valley Loop (which has nothing to do with Sharks) is a great way to accomplish that mission.The Shark Valley Loop is on Hwy. 41, 30 miles west of the Florida Turnpike exit for S.W. 8th St. The visitor center is open from 8:45am to 5:15pm from December to April, and the 9:15am to 5:15pm from May to November.
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