Big Cypress Oasis

See alligators in the wild

It's difficult to miss the water in southern Florida.

Around Orlando, there's a lake pretty much any direction you care to look. And further south the sawgrass and cypress trees of the Everglades barely hide the uninterrupted sheet of water that gives this part of the world its distinctive landscape.

The Everglades are home to a huge variety of wildlife from white tail deer and bobcats to the elusive Florida panther. With less than 100 panthers still thought to exist, you are much more likely to be able to see that other infamous Florida resident, the alligator.

Alligators, like many wild animals, are usually quite difficult to spot. However, if you travel along the stretch of US41 between Miami and Naples you have a very good chance of seeing alligators in the wild from the road.

US41 between Tampa and Miami, known as the Tamiami Trail, passes through the Everglades Wildlife Management Area and the Big Cypress National Preserve. Both areas provide a vast wild resource managed by the National Parks Service.

If you want to (almost) guarantee an alligator sighting, stop off at the Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center, 60 miles west of Miami. A natural limestone shelf makes an ideal spot for the alligators to bask. It is not unusual to find up to a dozen animals lazing around in the drainage canal by the road.

The visitor centre provides car parking, limited refreshments and a small information centre. The highlight of your visit is likely to be a stroll along the raised walkway giving an excellent view of the alligators in the canal below.

Official website
52105 Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee, FL 34141, United States
001 239-695-1201
Official website
1 hour
Opening hours
Open every day
09:00 - 16:30
25 December
Free entry
Accessible toilets available onsite
Disabled parking available
Wheelchair access all areas
Carer admitted free of charge
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Last update - 7 May 2016
Costs checked - May 2016
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