If you’re looking to soak in the outdoors in South Florida, Fern Forest is a lush oasis for nature walks and occasional free astronomy programs with telescopes.
Delight in the scenic setting on your own or register for a guided hike. Most events are free or relatively inexpensive. Entry into the natural area and parking are free.
The 244-acre wilderness preserve features walking trails for savoring the sights, scents and sounds of nature. Highlights include an elevated boardwalk, more than 30 species of ferns, plus resident wildlife.
Fern Forest park naturalist Ashley Grace says the boardwalk excursion winds along forest and swampy wetlands habitats with ferns, air plants, orchids, turtles and mosquito fish.
“A couple of my favorite spots in the park are in the heart of the swamp along our Cypress Creek Boardwalk,” Grace says. “Especially after it rains and the frogs are singing, and walking along the Prairie Perimeter Road in the afternoon when the gopher tortoises are out and about.”
She has tips on what to bring along: “I would say dress comfortable with a good pair of sneakers, just in case you plan on venturing out on the foot trails. It is also always a good plan to carry a reusable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, and bug spray if you’re going to be enjoying the great outdoors for an extended amount of time – and always remember to leave nature better than you found it.”
Events at Fern Forest
Phone 954-357-5198 to inquire about events, or register for events that require an RSVP
- South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association sets up telescopes in Fern Forest parking lot 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. December 23, no registration is required, free entry.
- Guided nature walks, usually 1 p.m. Sundays in English and 1 p.m. third Sundays in Spanish. Free. Note — December 25, Fern Forest is not open.
- Occasional night hikes are $5, 7:30 Febraru
Upcoming Fern Forest events
See the full schedule of Fern Forest events here.
Wildlife in Fern Forest
- gopher tortoises
- marsh rabbits
- great horned owls
- migratory birds: “The hottest months for birding here tend to be October and April,” Grace says
Fern Forest is at 201 Lyons Road S., Coconut Creek, FL / (954) 357-5198 / website
No bikes. No pets.
It’s open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free entry and free parking.