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merritt island

Visit Florida’s Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

August 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s more to see in Florida than the Epcot Center and Walt Disney World. The Sunshine State is home to a wide range of exotic wildlife and beautiful scenery. If you’re planning a family vacation to the Sunshine State, consider spending a day or two exploring the state’s outdoor offerings, and we don’t mean the beaches. If you want to see animals and plants that most people only get to see in zoos, consider visiting the Merritt Island National Refuge.

Located near Cape Canaveral, this natural sanctuary features a whopping 140,000 acres of various habitats, including coastal dunes, saltwater estuaries, pine flat woods, and freshwater impoundments, to name a few. The entire refuge is home to over 1,500 species of flora and fauna, making it the ideal place to see Florida’s unique plants and animals.

Visitors to this large refuge can take part in many recreational activities, ranging from wildlife drives to fishing and boating. The Black Point Wildlife Drive, for example, takes guests on a seven-mile drive through marshes and pine flatwoods, making it possible for people to get up close and personal with various birds as well as alligators, river otters, bobcats and snacks.

Other popular activities available at the refuge include bird and wildlife observation, the manatee observation deck, and canoeing. The Manatee Observation Deck is especially pleasant; a viewing platform on the northern side of Haulover Canal, the deck makes it possible for visitors to see these endangered gentle giants. The refuge also offers fishing and hunting, with plenty of lagoons and rivers to choose from, including Mosquito Lagoon and Banana River. Hunters can enjoy waterfowl hunting.

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