The range of tourism activities in the Orlando area particularly, and Florida in general is quickly changing. These days more and more people (including family groups) are taking time off from theme park activities and visiting beaches to go on birding tours and wildlife spotting trips.
The wonderful thing about Florida’s ecology is that it has a great geographic spread. This gives it a great diversity of habitats and climates – temperate and sub-tropical. The state has pinewood forests, swamps, salt marshes, 7,800 lakes, 660 miles of beaches, 11,000 miles of waterways and a fabulous marine life and environment. It is home to more than 500 bird species along with other forms of wildlife that are unique to the region. So much so it has become a premier birding and wildlife tour paradise.
This growing portion of tourism (eco-tourism) has been given a boost by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in association with the Wildlife Foundation of Florida. They are supported by the Florida Department of Transportation. Together these organisations have identified and mapped out about 2,000 miles of highway routes, trails and 500 sites where first-timers and long-time enthusiasts can spot the bird and animal species of Florida. The results of their efforts is Called the Great Florida Birding Trail.
They have also put together a great collection of free trail guide booklets, site descriptions, directions and maps. These can be had for free at the many staffed visitor centres and gateways that have been developed. They also provide updates, tips and up current information about the creatures, their movements and habits (at that the time you are visiting).
The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail provides information materials for both the casual and avid bird and animal watchers on what species to expect, what you could experience and personalised information on what you would like to do and see and how best (hike or drive) to get to view the creatures.
Now you can experience and see what only local birders used to know about the natural life and the habitat of the area.