Have you driven by the entrance to the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in west Delray Beach and wondered what was there? I did also, so I finally made time to stop by and see what it’s all about. Hidden away among the perfectly manicured landscaped subdivisions, on Jog Road between Woolbright Road and Atlantic Avenue is a Palm Beach County hidden gem. It’s the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, whose name means ‘created waters,’ in the Seminole Indian language.
About Wakodahatchee Wetlands
The 50 acres of land was given to Palm Beach County and transformed into a wetlands ecosystem by the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department in 1996. Since then, about 2 million gallons of treated, reclaimed water has been pumped into the area. The wetlands act as a natural filter and cleanse the water further. The Wakodahatchee Wetlands has attracted a variety of wildlife into the area including over a 140 species (click here to see a checklist of birds you can spot while visiting) in addition to alligators, frogs, otters and turtles. There’s a boardwalk approximately ¾ of a mile in length that will take you over the wetlands. It’s a great way to observe nature. The wetlands are open to the public 7 days a week from 7AM until sundown.
About Green Cay Wetlands and Nature Center
Its sister property, Green Cay Wetlands and Nature Center, is about 100 acres in size and is less than 2 miles away from the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. The entrance to Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands is on Hagen Ranch Road between Boynton Beach Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue. Green Cay offers interactive opportunities for those interested in learning more about the ecosystem and the wildlife. The nature center has several exhibits that allow the public to see turtles, snakes, frogs, and alligators up close (behind glass). Several times a month there are tours to help educate residents and tourist on the wetlands. The nature center is air conditioned, which offers a nice break after a trek on the 1.5 mile boardwalk. There’s also a cute little gift shop, so you can take home a memento of your visit. While you’re at Green Cay, remember to stop in and meet Oliver. He’s a rescued owl that has become the unofficial mascot of Green Cay. Although he’s just a small owl, he’s an amazing sight to observe. Always check the Palm Beach County website for hours of operation of the Nature Center.
So next time you want to do something that’s stimulating, exciting, and just plain fun, pull in to either of these two Wetland areas. You may be just as surprised as I was to see this vast, yet peaceful oasis of South Florida nature in our very own backyard.
New Harbor Realty