Biscayne National Park

By Abbey Tiderman 05.28.2015 interact

Who’s up for an e-field trip to one of the country’s most unique national parks? This one may not have the majestic mountains or moose many come to expect from protected parks across the United States, but sea turtles, shipwrecks and sharks are certainly something special, don’t you think? For starters, you can literally dive into nature at Biscayne National Park located south of Miami, Florida. Its 172,000 acres—95 percent of it sea—is teeming with diverse wildlife, boasts spectacular scenery and reveals a rich history of inhabitants going back 10,000 years.

Over 500,000 visitors come to Biscayne National Park each year to camp on its islands, snorkel, canoe, kayak and perhaps catch a glimpse of some of its 200 species of fish. The park is also home to many different reptiles, mammals, birds and amphibians, and it’s even been said that Biscayne has more species than in Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon combined!

With four complex and important ecosystems supporting all that life, however, biologists, geologists and other members of the park’s team have their work cut out for them. Many species in the region are endangered including the Schaus’ swallowtail butterfly, West Indian manatee, sea turtles, whales, American crocodile and peregrine falcon, so researchers, staff and volunteers work tirelessly to ensure that habitats and organisms within them thrive. The park’s sea turtle conservation efforts, for example, focus on protecting summer nesting sites, while strict guidelines are communicated to divers, boaters and snorkelers about the importance and treatment of coral reefs.

To help you get started on exploring Biscayne, we’ve put together a slideshow with some fascinating images — check it out:

Lurking beneath the waters of Biscayne National Park are millions of animals, several shipwrecks, and miles of coral reef.


Photo Credit: Public Domain via NPS

There are hundreds of different species of fish living together in the waters that make up Biscayne Park. This Spadefish is one of them.


Photo Credit: Public Domain via NPS

This pretty plant has a not-so-lovely name. Meet the Devil's Potato! It flourishes in the area around Biscayne Park.


Photo Credit: Public Domain via NPS

Very few parks in the world have views like this! The clarity of the water and the biodiversity makes it popular with scientists and researchers.


Photo Credit: Public Domain via NPS

This is the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse. It was lit for the first time in 1878, and is still the main lighthouse for ships entering Miami.


Photo Credit: Public Domain via NPS

Biscayne is also home to several islands, like Totten Key. This island was named for General James E. Totten, who was Chief of Engineers for the U.S. Army.


Photo Credit: Public Domain via NPS

The American Crocodile also calls Biscayne home. Take a look, but keep your distance.


Photo Credit: Public Domain via NPS

Birdwatchers can see many species of birds, including woodpeckers.


Photo Credit: Public Domain via NPS

Families looking to get involved at the park can help out by volunteering to clean up the tons of trash that wash up onto Biscayne's shorelines.


Photo Credit: Public Domain via NPS

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