Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton

Palm Beach, FL

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is located in a gorgeous jungle and is quite an exotic place to visit just because of its location. It has sea life in huge outdoor tanks shaded by roofs, an interesting wooden building with ramps, exhibits about animals, and a boardwalk through jungle to an observation tower. There is enough to keep you busy for a while! The volunteers are friendly and will point out the animals to you, like the sea horses hiding in the kelp in the indoor tank, or the funny flat fish camouflaged on the sandy floor of the outdoor tank.
At the entrance there is a gift shop and a room with exhibits about Florida animals. There are plenty of flaps to open and buttons to press, essential if you have young children.
Outside, herbs grow in planters on the railing. A ramp leads down to outdoor tanks that are beautifully constructed. The problem, though, is that you can't see in them because you are held back by a metal railing. Loggerhead Marinelife Center is much better in this way. The fish are fascinating so listen to one of the volunteers tell you about them.
Inside, there is an ugly research space with tanks. It's cute to see the sea snails and seahorses, but there are some unkind things being done in the name of research, such as tiny turtle hatchlings with clear "leashes" they struggle against all day.
A wooden boardwalk leads you on a nature walk through the jungle to an observation tower. This place is infested with mosquitoes!! If you come in summer, wear clothes to cover your legs and arms and drown yourself in repellent! Otherwise you'll be itchy for weeks with huge red bites. It's lovely at the top of the tower. The jungle is thick and gorgeous, and you can see the lagoon, the high rises of Boca Raton, as well as the ocean in the distance. The tower sways in the wind, which is a little disconcerting.
Because this area is sandwiched between two warm bodies of water, the lagoon and the ocean, there is a microclimate, which makes this jungle, similar to those found in the tropics, possible.
Have fun enjoying the wonderful things Florida has to offer!
Across the street from this center is Red Reef Beach Park, a beautiful narrow beach. Since you can't stay in the nature center parking, you'd have to park at the beach or across the street from the beach at the golf course, which has cheaper public parking.  Parking is $20 at the beach for non-residents of the city. 
There is a small playground nearby, across from Delray Beach, called Anchor Park. After your visit, have lunch at Souvlaki Fast, a trendy and yummy Greek fast food place (see address below).

Continue to pictures...

Fun ramps lead from the main building to the outdoor tanks.

Herb garden on the railing!

Top of the outdoor tanks- what views! The wooden structure is very atmospheric, and reminds me of houses in Bali by the jungle.

The outdoor tanks are in solid structures that provide shade.

Sea horse and kelp.

Fish in the beautiful tank with windows all around.

Sea snail!

Sting rays.

Nature centers are always so beautiful in Florida- look at this wooden structure!

Buttons to press!

Plenty of flaps to lift...exhibit about birds.

Interactive displays in the room at the entrance.

Boardwalk to the observation tower. How amazing is this jungle! These are the Gumbo Limbo trees the center is named for.

Strangler fig.

Gazebo on the lagoon, as seen from the observation tower.

Top of the observation tower.

Bird's eye view of the jungle.

Houses on the lagoon.

It's lovely to be up high!

What lush vegetation!

Zoomed-in view of the ocean....aaah Florida.

Turtle sculptures outside the museum.

West Indian Manatee skeleton.

Giant tree on the grounds of the nature center.

Exit Hwy 95 southbound at Yamato Rd and head toward the ocean. After one mile, turn right on US Hwy 1. After half a mile, turn left on Spanish River Blvd. After half a mile, turn right on Ocean Blvd. After 1.5 miles the center will be on your right. There is a small parking lot.
Exit Hwy 95 northbound at Palmetto Park Rd and head toward the ocean. After three miles, turn left on Ocean Blvd. After one mile, the center will be on your left. There is a small parking lot.
The address is 1801 N. Ocean Blvd, Boca Raton FL 33432, call (561) 544-8605.
Free admission, though a $5 donation is welcome.
Open Mon-Sat 9-4, and Sun 12-4. Closed Jan 1, July 4, Thanksgiving (fourth Thurs in Nov), and Dec 25.
Souvlaki Fast, 625 NE Spanish River Blvd, Boca Raton FL 33431, call (561) 388-8855.

jen

2013-11-20 18:19:00

I take family and guests from out of town here all the time. Great place for kids too. )

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Last Updated: Fri, 07 May 2021 14:34:35 GMT

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