Bonita Springs, FL- January, 2017 There is an old roadside attraction located just down the street from our campground. In 1936 the Piper brothers opened The Reptile Garden beside the then new Tamiami Trail. This road is now called Old Highway 41 and the attraction was renamed the Everglades Wonder Gardens somewhere along the way. The Piper family closed the attraction in 2013 and a not for profit organization, with financial assistance from the city of Bonita Springs, purchased and reopened it.
We visited mid-day and mid-week so it wasn’t very crowded, maybe a dozen other guests were there. There were plenty of plants, some very pretty like this sea grape, but despite the name the gardens were not the highlight.
They have a lot of birds and the ones that talked were especially entertaining. Many were real hams.
They had plenty of beautiful birds as well, like this cute little duck.
One highlight of our visit was the flamingos. It was fun to watch the strange way they eat, turning their heads up-side down to swallow.
We watched that couple peacefully for a bit. But when another couple joined them the feathers really flew.
Four was definitely a crowd.
This pair wins the prize as the oddest couple. Apparently they’ve been roommates for many, many years.
There were many peacocks roaming the grounds.
There were a lot of reptile exhibits as well but it’s not always easy to get a picture of their guests under glass.
The stars are definitely the alligators. This baby is apparently adopted.
The alligators are generally in a large enclosure with a swinging bridge for visitors to walk over. We were a little disappointed that this exhibit was closed and is being rebuilt. But they don’t seem to mind their temporary digs.
They are all smiles.
We would definitely recommend anyone visiting this area to check out this Florida institution. The tickets are $12 per person but knowing that the money is going exclusively for the care of the animals and to make improvements to their habitats makes the price easier to swallow. We also highly recommend the Twisted Tangle Café next door. We stopped by for a snack after our visit and thoroughly enjoyed our appetizers and visiting with the owner.