Florida’s Everglades National Park protects the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. Established in 1947 as the first national park created for its biodiversity, the park is home to threatened and endangered species including the Florida panther, the American crocodile and the West Indies manatee. The park is also the source of drinking water for much of South Florida.
Recently, Everglades National Park and Everglades Guest Services opened the Flamingo Lodge, the only hotel in the park, along with a restaurant and the redesigned Guy Bradley Visitor Center.
The original Flamingo Lodge and Restaurant, a popular visitor spot for 40 years, was damaged along with the visitor center by hurricanes in 2005 and 2017.
In redesigning and rebuilding the lodge and visitor center, the National Parks Service and Everglades Guest Services emphasized resiliency and storm protection. The Lodge’s 24 rooms, including eight suites, are constructed of durable shipping containers, raised off the ground by stairs. Four of the rooms are ADA compliant and are accessed by an elevator and walkway. The adjacent restaurant, also constructed using shipping containers, serves traditional South Florida fare overlooking nearby Florida Bay.
The visitor center, formerly known as the Flamingo Visitor Center, was renamed the Guy Bradley Visitor Center for the first Audubon Game Warden, killed in the line of duty protecting the park’s birds from plume hunters. In renovating the center, the park placed special emphasis on preserving the center’s distinctive pink color and Miami Modern elements. The renovations incorporate energy efficient features while meeting the Florida building code for coastal high hazard zones. The center’s exhibits provide opportunities for visitors to learn more about the coastal ecosystem and its inhabitants and include cultural stories from people who made their homes in the challenging coastal environment.
In addition to the Lodge, accommodations in the park include campsites, eco-tents and houseboats.
Located just two hours from Miami, the Lodge provides easy access to popular recreational activities including fishing, boating, hiking and birding, as well as the chance to view the park’s wildlife.
For more information on Everglades National Park, check the website.
Photos courtesy National Park Service