Anne Kolb Nature Center, West Lake Park
Miami, FL, USA
In the middle of built-up coastal South Florida there is a large preserve of mangrove forest called West Lake Park. Here you can visit the Anne Kolb Nature Center with its lovely five-level observation tower. It's nice to stand at the top, feel the breeze, and look out on stretches of green. You can take an elevator to the top if you need to. Something about the rather plain mangrove trees reminded me of eucalyptus that stretches for miles in Australia. The lake shimmers, with its cute island in the middle. And the ocean makes its turquoise line on the east side of the tower. You see two water towers, condos, mansions, and even a cruise ship if you're lucky. Below, you can see the cute zigzag wooden boardwalk that leads to a gazebo over the lake.
Inside the exhibit hall you learn about the strange creatures that live in the mangrove forest. One exhibit shows you the mud dwellers: long spikey worms, crabs, all manner of odd things! There are tanks, one with a checkered puffer fish. You can touch different shells, including snail shells and giant sand dollars. There's an exhibit of snake skins and skulls of various animals like raccoons and bobcats.
I liked the exhibit with jars of sand from different beaches around the world. You watch a ten minute video that explains the world of the mangrove forest- it's nice.
The exhibit hall is moldy smelling and our allergies flared up.
You can kayak or canoe at West Lake Park, and also take a pontoon boat tour from the nature center.
Afterwards, go for a swim or stroll at Hollywood Beach and Boardwalk.
The boardwalk through the mangrove forest looks so cool from above!
Lake view from the tower.
Inside the nature center.
Fun, creepy exhibit on Mud Masters: Bubble Snails, Mantis Shrimp, and Plumed Worms.
Great exhibit on Bloodworms and Razor Clams.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Anne Kolb Nature Center is located in West Lake Park at 751 Sheridan St, Hollywood FL 33019, call (954) 357-5161.
Open daily 8-6. Cost to enter the exhibit hall is $2 per person. Entering the park, trails, or observation tower is free.
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