We appreciate our natural areas and our wildlife. Catching a glimpse of a manatee, an alligator, a sea turtle, a dolphin or three, or a bobcat or Florida panther (if you’re very lucky) can be exciting, and the sheer variety of birds in the area is endlessly entertaining. 

Explore below to discover several wildlife sanctuaries that allow you to experience a variety of Florida wildlife in person...so to speak!

Babcock Ranch Eco-Tours

Back to Top of List

A great way to get out and experience nature and wildlife in the area is an outing with Babcock Ranch Eco-Tours.

This is a fun, informative, and value-added (read: lunch at The Gator Shack then shopping in the amazingly eclectic gift shop) tour through pristine nature areas full of wildlife and fascinating history.

You may even catch a glimpse of the real cowboys who work the ranch, and maybe hogs, wild turkeys, and deer. You're basically guaranteed to see historic Cracker Cattle and alligators and birds of all kinds.

Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary

Back to Top of List

Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary is "Punta Gorda's Wildest Retirement Home."

This sanctuary for rescued exotic animals—yes, the famed lions, tigers, etc., plus primates, canines, and so many more—they never take animals from the wild.

They offer private, guided tours that get you up close (but not too close) to the animals. You'll get to hear their stories and learn more about the species in general and the individual animal in particular.

It's a fascinating experience and highly recommended.

Peace River Wildlife Center

Back to Top of List

If birding is more your thing, you'll be happy to know there are seven sections of the Great Florida Birding Trail in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach. We're definitely a birder's paradise

Peace River Wildlife Center (PRWC) in Punta Gorda houses mostly birds and small mammals that cannot be released.

A visit will include up close views of resident condors, owls, eagles, and many other species.

They also have a great gift shop, the proceeds of which help support their rescue/rehabilitate/release mission.

Fun fact: if you visit around 2:30 pm; you may catch them feeding the pelicans.

This area is very special and we treasure every bit of it. You're invited to visit and enjoy it too!