Key West for Nature Lovers

By: Kevin Mims

ADD TO FAVORITES

There's no shortage of cool things to do when you visit Florida's southernmost city. From shopping to some of the most unique history in the state, Key West is a treasure trove for visitors of all types – and that goes for nature lovers, too. Here are three spots that are perfect for folks who want to get a look at the other wild side of Key West.

Key West Audubon House and Gardens: Birders, this is the place for you. While it's called the Audubon House, it's actually the home of Capt. John Geiger, a famous shipwreck salvager – or "wrecker", as they were commonly called. John James Audubon took up residence in the Geiger home, drawing the species of the area for his "Birds of America" book. In the home, visitors have the opportunity to see several of Audubon's first edition works and plenty of other drawings. Walk out on the second floor balcony and imagine what Key West was back in 1832, and spend some time exploring the gardens as well. 

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park: It's much more than the site of Key West's best beach. Spend time learning about Fort Taylor, which helped to defend the coastline in both the Spanish-American and Civil Wars. Just outside the fort, take a short walk on two different trails, each providing a look at coastal and tropical habitats. Grab your scopes and binoculars and hit the beach, keeping a lookout for warblers and vireos.

Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center: Located right outside of Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, the Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center is the place to learn about the flora and fauna of the Florida Keys. Interactive displays, brochures, a theater, and a live reef exhibit are just a few of the things offered at the center. 

For a great day trip to Key West, hit up all three places. Since I spent a few weeks in the area, I've got a lot more to share from the Keys. Stay tuned!

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