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Fern Forest Nature Center

For more information and blog posts on Fern Forest, visit the Categories section below, in such articles as Riots of Yellow and Gold in a Florida Forest, Love in a Florida Forest, A Picnic at Fern Forest, and more.

Fern Forest, 247 acres in entirety, is a magnificent conservation site and wildlife refuge located in Broward County, Florida, taking its name from the myriad ferns — more than 30 species — found on its grounds. In 1979, scientists from FAU and Broward Community College (now Broward College) wrote about the area’s botanical diversity in their article “A Tropical Fern Grotto in Broward County, Florida.” The researchers characterized the site as “the last remaining stronghold of ferns in southeastern Florida.” This beautiful and diverse natural area represents the last remnant of the historical Cypress Creek floodway. Authorized in the early 1900s to create more suitable farming land, the Cypress Creek drainage system and the surrounding areas have a long history as farmland, first for such crops as pineapples, tomatoes, beans, and peppers, and later for dairy farming, logging and milling.

Fern Forest remains a significant refuge for wildlife in this highly urbanized region, and hosts many educational activities, conservation events, and nature programs. A reception hall, an ampitheater, and picnic areas and protective shelters are provided within its nature center. The park encompasses 10 plant communities, including a tropical hardwood hammock, an open prairie, and a cypress-maple swamp. Three main trails are offered: The Cypress Creek Trail (a wonderful boardwalk); The Prairie Overlook Trail, which includes a 20-foot-tall observation platform; and the Maple Walk (my favorite!), through an often soggy red maple swamp. Fern Forest was awarded “Best of” from the Broward/Palm Beach New Times for:

  • 2009 – Best Nature Trail
  • 2007 – Best Nature Trail
  • 2005 – Best Place to Birdwatch

LaSpada’s Subs is nearby, even better! We like to grab some grub for a picnic, before our walks either here or at nearby Tree Tops park.

For More Information:

Entrance Boardwalk, Fern Forest

River Scene, Fern Forest

River Scene, Fern Forest

Yellow Anole (Yellow-phased Green Anole), Fern Forest

Mating Viceroy Butterflies (Limenitis archippus), Fern Forest Nature Center

Cypress Along the Maple Walk, Fern Forest

Cypress Creek Critters of Fern Forest

River Tree, Fern Forest

Fern Forest Signage

Banana Spider, Fern Forest

Prickly-pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa) Blossom, Fern Forest

River Scene, Fern Forest

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. great photos!!

    November 25, 2012
    • Thanks so very much! This is truly a wonderful place, beautifully preserved.

      November 26, 2012
  2. This is a great place, I’ve been there a few times. This is the kind of place I’d love to have for a wildlife sanctuary!

    December 28, 2012
    • Ah, Fern Forest is wonderful. SO thrilled they were able to save as much as they did of this land, smack in the middle of Broward…. It’s just lovely. I’ve been here many times, and it’s a joy each and every time. A true sanctuary.

      December 28, 2012
  3. That looks so peaceful. No wonder all the creatures like it there.

    January 15, 2013
    • This is an AMAZING community… It’s so lush, so wonderful — and smack in the middle of Broward County! It was really a blessing that they were able to preserve this beautiful land. I always think, this is what alllll this area once looked like. Sigh.

      January 15, 2013
  4. Ferns are definitely among my favorite plants. I have two in my house, but I have a difficult time keeping them healthy during the winter. I

    January 25, 2013
    • ooooh you should SEE the size of some of our ferns…. bigger than me! i have a few lovely images i need to put up; i’m so far behind! i’ll get to them, i promise, for you! 🙂

      January 25, 2013
  5. George Rogers #

    Wow—never been there, but will make a point of visiting at the first opportunity.

    January 30, 2013
    • It really is an amazing, beautiful place — we’re so fortunate that they were able to preserve this piece of heaven. And it’s now, smack in the middle of Broward!

      What’s also wonderful about Fern Forest is that the Nature Center is host to all sorts of events — I was just there this past weekend, actually! And Sunday evening saw fabulous bluegrass musicians, which turned out a great crowd. 🙂

      January 30, 2013
  6. beautiful place and pics!

    February 3, 2013
    • Thanks so very much…! This really is an amazing preserve, a beautiful sanctuary — we’re so very lucky they were able to protect it!!

      February 3, 2013
  7. Wow phenomenal photos!

    February 5, 2013
    • Thanks so much! This is an AMAZING place. Such a sanctuary, so pristine…. It’s wonderful that they were able to preserve it, in the midst of South Florida’s crazy development. It’s beyond beautiful.

      February 5, 2013
      • And your photographs show that beauty in such a poignant way! You have such talent! xo

        February 5, 2013
      • Ah, thanks SO much! You brought a smile to my face… Such a wonderful way to start the day!! 🙂

        February 5, 2013
      • That’s how I felt reading your post this morning and looking at your photos! 🙂

        February 5, 2013
      • Aw, so very nice… THANK YOU!! 🙂 A million times over.

        February 5, 2013
  8. leslie #

    We’ve visited here several times. I love the ferns and the beauty berries. Last year there were big tortoises and butterflies on a prarie trail. It seems like this year they’ve mowed the grass; are the tortoises gone?

    February 21, 2013
    • Ah, it’s a wonderful place, isn’t it? A preserved haven in the midst of city-Broward. I always imagine… This is what the entire area looked like, and it’s overwhelming. Bittersweet.

      Mowing the grass shouldn’t affect the tortoise burrows — you’re talking about the large prairie area, right? Hmmm… I didn’t explore it too much while I was there last time (just a few weeks ago!).

      February 21, 2013
      • leslie #

        I hope the tortoises are still there. I love your photos! I love your blog! I took photos of the anole and the banana spider too Thank you for sharing and for helping the Everglades.

        March 7, 2013
      • Aw, thanks so much! You’re going to have to let me know if you see the tortoises…. Which anole did you see, the yellow-phased one? I ask because a reptile guy/expert was just asking me about him! This place is truly wonderful.

        March 8, 2013
  9. Your work is absolutely amazing!! Thanks for sharing.

    February 17, 2015
    • You’re so incredibly kind – thank you!! It’s easy to replicate the beauty of natural Florida. 😀

      February 22, 2015

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