Vintage Is the New Black. We crave simpler times… that much has become apparent in our sudden craving for retro collectibles, Throwback Thursdays andFlashback Fridays. On Wednesday, September 14th, self-advocates from United Cerebral Palsy of Southwest Florida in Naples “traveled back in time” with a visit toEverglades Wonder Gardens. The roadside attraction in Lee County Florida was established in 1936 along the newly-built Tamiami Trail from Tampa to Miami. Originally named “The Reptile Gardens,” the attraction’s name was changed to the Everglades Wonder Gardens as it earned a reputation for its wildlife rehabilitation programs.
A highlight of the tour for many of the self-advocates was the 80-year-old botanical jungle. The property is home to a botanical canopy that includes orchids, bamboo, bromeliads and other specimens. The lush, natural backdrop is also home to an eclectic assortment of rescued exotic birds and rescued reptiles who have now found a forever home in the Gardens. The full itinerary included a flamingo pond, an alligator pool with 37 gators, duck ponds, aviary, turtle and tortoise exhibits, butterfly garden, bromeliad garden, and the breath-taking orchid trail. In the midst of all the natural wonder and nature therapy, UCP’s visitors also learned a lot about botanical, animal, historical and conservation topics impacting Southwest Florida.
United Cerebral Palsy of Southwest Florida commends Everglades Wonder Gardens for ensuring that its gardens and wildlife are accessible for tourists of all abilities. UCP’s day long adventure “back in time” was truly a memorable experience! Thank you for supporting full participation and community inclusion for many people regardless of ability.