Travel dates :: January 17-19, 2016
Myakka is a beautiful place. It’s one of Florida’s oldest and largest state parks and it has some of the most beautiful landscapes.
We had very little phone reception and virtually no internet while we were here – which was actually a welcome break from things. We DID have a lot of sunshine and lots of time enjoying the nature here.
If you visit the park, I highly recommend the airboat tour onto Upper Myakka Lake. The hour-long tour cost our family about $35 and was a blast – the kids especially loved it.
Apparently there are about 1,000 alligators in the Upper Myakka Lake – and we saw at least a dozen of them on the far shore of the lake during the tour. It was a COLD day, I think we would have seen many more had it been warmer. But we learned a ton about gators thanks to our great tour guide.
One of the things we learned is gators are able to bite down on something with a pressure of 3,700 pounds per square inch. In comparison humans chowing down on a piece of steak might have a pressure of 150 to 200 pounds per square inch. Pretty crazy huh? Do you see the two gators here? Sunning themselves under the most beautiful Spanish Moss draped tree. . .
Do you see both gators swimming across the lake here? They swam right in front of our boat!
Another gator. . .and a bird. It always surprises me when I see these things so close together. . .
A bird. . .
A couple more birds. The bird on the branch with it’s wings open is an Anhinga (I think?). We learned on the tour that Anhingas vary from other water birds because they don’t have oil glands that waterproof their feathers. So Anhingas have to air-dry their feathers between dives into the water.
Another gator, this one was a big one! I won’t bore you with more gator photos, but I recommend you take the tour if you’re lucky enough to be near Myakka State Park.
The other awesome thing to do at Myakka River State Park is the canopy walk. I can’t find any details on the park website for it – but get a hiking/trails map at the park and find this canopy walk – and go on it!
It’s is set up for one-way foot traffic, so find the tower that allows you to go up and take the stairs up. . .
The suspension bridge is 25 feet off the ground and nestled in the top of the trees.
It sways a little bit – just enough to make you excited 🙂 and you walk across to the tower on the other side. It’s amazing to be up in the trees! It’s a great opportunity to talk about the creatures that live in the canopy trees and they have some great displays to help with this discussion.
Once you get to the other side of the suspension bridge, climb the tallest tower!
You’ll find yourself 76 feet in the air with amazing 360 degree views of Myakka State Park. . .
It was breathtaking. We went really early in the morning – so we heard lots of bird chirping, the sun was coming up and we were the only people in the tower. I would definitely recommend timing it this way. I also think sunset would be an incredible time to be up in the tower.
Looking down from the top of the tower you can see the suspension bridge below.
And that was Myakka. It was a wonderful state park and definitely worth a stop!
From here we headed north to Oleno State Park near Gainesville. . . more on that later!