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Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Norway
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Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

I am trying to plan our day trip from Miami to the Everglades on Friday 17th Feb. We want to do an airboat trip, see as much wildlife as possible, and maybe have a closer look at gators and other stuff if there are shows or exibits there as well. Can anyone recommend where to go if we want to do all this in one spot - also preferably have something to eat. Afterwards we plan to hit the Sawgrass Mills outlet mall, so if there's a good place in this direction that would be very good! Please - can anyone help me out - we are leaving next week!

Hartford...
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1. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Shark valley

England
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2. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Shark valley is indeed a great place to visit but there are no airboats or wildlife shows there.

You will probably see adverts for airboats as you drive US 41 and for food there are few options other than the Miccosukee indian restaurant just opposite the park entrance. Food is not the greatest in my opinion so you might want to be on the look out for alternatives as you drive west.

By the way you do realise that Sawgrass mall is near Fort Lauderdale don't you?

Another option for you would be the southern entrance to the park near Homestead and the Anhinga trail.

Park map here www.everglades.national-park.com/ever1.htm

Have a great trip.

Norway
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3. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Thank you for taking the time to reply Yes I do realise the mall is further north, and that was why I wanted to find the nearest and best entrance to the Everglades - we will be driving from Miami in the morning and then do the mall in the afternoon. Since we have kids ages 7 and 11 yrs old the airboat ride and the opportunity to see the animals close up also afterwards is essential. I just checked out Coopertown, as this seemed to have alot of what we were looking for, but we cannot spend the whole day driving around Florida. I am using Google to try and figure out where things are and the distance between, but it takes time! That's why this forum is so great.

England
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4. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Do you have to do it all in a day? There is so much to see it seems to me that you will not get the best out of your trip in such a short space of time.

Sunrise, FL
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5. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Though I love Shark Valley, I wouldnt recommend it after reading what you want to see. There are several places where you can go on an airboat ride, see native wildlife and enjoy some food.

Here are some recommendations...

http://www.evergladestours.com/_index.php

http://gatorpark.com/

www.evergladessafaripark.com/directions.htm

Also, technically, Sawgrass Mill Mall is not in Fort Lauderdale, but Sunrise. Not that that makes much of a difference. Sawgrass Recreational Park (the first link up there) is very nice and close to the mall. Remember that there are many choices to eat around and inside the mall, too.

Hartford...
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6. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Just a suggestion but since its with kids i think its a good idea to see part of the actual national park after the airboat ride as the airboats don't actually operate inside the park. Whether its anhinga trail or shark valley there is an immense amount of wildlife to see up close in natural setting instead of in pens or being wrestled.

Norway
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7. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Yes, after looking at the map and using Google it looks like we can easily combine a visit to Shark Valley with an airboat ride and show at the Gatorpark and still have time to drive up to Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall. Please correct me if I am wrong. We plan to be at Gatorpark as soon as they open in the morning - or is Shark Valley the best place to do in the morning?

Sunrise, FL
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8. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Well it depends on how long you want to spend at Shark Valley and what you want to do. There are tram tours, bicycle rentals or you can just walk. If you want to rent a bicycle, they have about 80, but they could be rented pretty quick. So if you are not there first thing, you could end up waiting a little while. However, the tram tour is nice and you can see the whole park and then when its over, walk back to the areas for a more "up close" look at the wildlife. I would say that Shark Valley is the furthest of your two choices from the mall. Its about a 45 minute drive from the mall to Shark Valley, give or take.

England
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9. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

Early would be best as wildlife generally more active when it's cooler.

Tram tours can be booked in advance which might be advisable as this is the peak season. www.sharkvalleytramtours.com/tramtours.html

10. Re: Which park to hit - shopping at Sawgrass Mills afterwards..

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