A seemingly endless variety of fish and aquatic mammal species find their way up and down the South Florida coast, including swordfish, billfish, tunas and sharks, dolphins and manatee. The Bonita Springs area also provides haven to numerous local and migratory birds, including red-shouldered hawks, bald eagles, osprey, reddish egrets, roseate spoonbills, and clapper rails, and many others.
The nesting season for sea turtles runs from May 1 through October 31, during which time city ordinance forbids any artificial light from disturbing the nesting areas on the beaches. Florida’s most common species of sea turtle is the loggerhead, which can reach 200 to 250 pounds. The leatherback and green turtles are considered endangered species.
Established in 1936, the Everglades Wonder Gardens is one of Florida’s last surviving family-owned roadside attractions, harking back to the Florida’s Golden Age of auto tourism. In 2013, award-winning photographer John Brady took over management and converted the Gardens into a not-for-profit charity. The Gardens feature a tropical jungle which showcases a number of unique local species, including alligators, turtles, snakes, birds and iguanas, as well as more exotic specimens from South America.