When is the last time you had to stop to let a Gopher Tortoise cross the road or wait in your driveway until the delicate white egret blocking the garage door left? Have you ever seen a Sandhill Crane hanging out in a parking lot, or watched a dolphin catch a fish? These are everyday occurrences in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, an area that teems with wildlife. Bring binoculars if you have them!
To learn more about our corner of the Wild Kingdom that is Florida, consider a nature walk or wading trip with the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC), or explore one of the many parks or nature areas nearby at your leisure. For sea life (including dolphins and manatees if you're lucky!) and even more cool birds, try a kayak or standup paddleboarding tour.
A Babcock Ranch Eco-Tour is another thoroughly enjoyable way to learn more. As the “swamp buggy” (converted school bus) travels through four different eco-systems, your fun and funny guide will talk about the flora and fauna, the fascinating history of Babcock Ranch and the historic Cracker Cattle, and the modern-day cowboys that work the ranch to this day. One of the best parts of the tour is getting to “meet” a tiny baby alligator at the end of it...and then a hearty meal at the onsite Gator Shack Restaurant.