Looking to soak in the outdoors in South Florida? Here’s a recommendation: Try a nature walk in the lush oasis that is Fern Forest, 201 Lyons Road S., Coconut Creek.
Delight in the scenic setting on your own. Or register for a guided hike.
Most events are free. Admission 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
- Guided nature walks, usually 1 p.m. Sundays and various other dates; phone for verification; reservations recommended
- 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Sunday, April 10, 2022: Gopher Tortoise Appreciation Day, with art activities for youngsters and walks to the tortoise habitat. Event is free, with donations recommended.
- 10 a.m. Sunday, April 17, 2022: Earth Day hike; free entry Other Earth Day and environmental events.
- Native Plant Sale, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, April 30, 2022
- Observe the night sky with telescopes and representatives of the South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association, 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 3, 2022; call ahead to confirm event; free
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
- no bikes
- no pets
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- free entry; free parking