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The observation tower is a cool thing to see and is probably the highlight of the tour.
Shark Valley Tram Tours
Closest available address
36000 SW 8th Street Miami, FL 33194
Tours run from 9:00am-4:00pm. More tours are offered in the winter.
Best time to visit
The Shark River Tram Tour is a two hour narrated tour in the Shark Valley section of Everglades National Park. The open-air tram drives 15 miles roundtrip to an observation tower on a park loop road that is also open to bicyclers and walkers but not to other traffic. The scenery is a mostly open saw grass environment with occasional hardwood hammocks. There also is a short trail at the observation tower and a boardwalk near the entrance.
Everglades National Park is world famous for a “river of grass” that historically stretched a hundred miles from Lake Okeechobee to the tip of Florida. Fostering this grass was a thin layer of water that flowed slowly and unimpeded across the landscape. While the park was established in 1947, it only included about 10% of the historic Everglades, and destructive water control measures were being built at the same time or had already been put in place. Today the water still flows but it’s greatly diminished and is mostly controlled by man. A highway and dyke called the Tamiami Trail is going to be elevated in places to bolster water flow and improve the ecosystem; road construction may cause delays getting to Shark Valley.
Winter is definitely the season to come here as the weather is cooler and mosquitoes are typically minimal. However, winter is also the most popular time to visit, so it’s a good idea to make reservations because the tram tours can sell out. The tram itself was comfortable and was open so it was easy to check out the scenery and enjoy the trip. Both the driver and narrator were young and pleasant. Most of the narration pertained to the park and animal life. There was also some commentary about park environmental issues such as invasive species. Tour highlights included numerous alligators and fewer but diverse wading birds. There was about 20 minutes to spend at the observation tower. It was enough time to walk up the tower and get a good view, but not enough time to walk all of the nature trail. Bicycle rentals are also available. Some people bike to the observation tower, but the tram tour is more relaxing and more informative. While a visit to Shark Valley should not take the place of a visit to the main visitor center and park area, it’s a nice supplement to it and provides easy access to the traditional Everglades environment. The tour is also a good choice for kids. Alligators are especially numerous here in winter but much less so in the summer.
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