Nature surrounds us as we stroll along the Wakodahatchee Wetlands boardwalk in Delray Beach Florida. Wading birds stand tall in the marsh, seemingly unaware as we pass. It’s a brilliant use of former wastewater, now a treatment facility that provides an open sanctuary for wetland birds and other Florida wildlife. Wakodahatchee Wetlands is home to more than 178 species of birds, as well as other wildlife including alligators, iguanas, turtles, racoons, insects, and otters.
The wildlife is free to come and go as it pleases. Human visitors are a bit limited as we need to stay on the nearly 1-mile long boardwalk. It protects the wildlife as well as keeps us safe from the alligators. Our trail is enhanced with interpretive signage as well as places to rest.
According to the signage, “The Wakodahatchee Wetland boardwalk was created to inspire and educate people about the importance of water conservation. . . . This manmade wetland naturally purifies highly treated water from the southern region water reclamation facility, recharges the area’s groundwater resources and provides a natural habitat for wildlife.”
Wakodahatchee was named the “best park in Florida” in June 2018 by Money Magazine.
Wakodahatchee Wetlands Birds and Other Florida Wildlife
A Nesting Alligator
Like the birds, the alligators are part of the Florida wildlife and choose to live here at Wakodahatchee. The boardwalk protects visitors from the alligators.
Spring Migration and Nesting in the Florida Wetlands
Spring and autumn are the migration season for Florida wetland birds. On our prior visit in Spring of 2016, we saw an abundant collection of nesting birds.
Wetland Birds Identified by Readers
Thanks to Tasha Boroff for identifying these birds.
Practical Information on Visiting Wakodahatchee Wetlands
- Wakodahatchee Wetlands are open daily from 7 am to sunset.
- Entry and parking are free.
- The boardwalk is just shy of a one-mile walk.
- Located at 13026 Jog Road in Delray Beach Florida (Palm Beach County), the entrance to Wakodahatchee Wetlands is between Woolbright Road and Atlantic Avenue.
- The name Wakodahatchee means “created waters” in the dialect of the Seminole Indians.
- The Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility pumps nearly two million gallons of highly treated wastewater into the Wakodahatchee Wetlands daily. The wetlands act as a percolation pond. The result is billions of gallons of fresh water returning to the water table.
- For more information check out Wakodahatchee’s official website here.
- If you still want more wildlife, check out this Florida Everglades Airboat Tour and Alligator Show from Fort Lauderdale.
- We visited Delray Beach as part of a larger USA driving adventure.
More About Florida Birds
There are over 500 different species of birds in Florida. If you want to learn more about them, check out one of these great resources.
To my surprise, this is more than double the number of bird species in New Zealand (base country for Albom Adventures). A few of my favourite New Zealand birds are the Takahe, Little Blue Penguin, Kaka, Shag, Kiwi bird, and Tui.
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If you are in Delray Beach Florida, another peaceful place to visit is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.