Fern Forest Nature Center Florida

Fern Forest Nature Center Florida: Get Lost in the Lush Wilderness

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Nestled in the heart of South Florida lies a hidden gem that will transport you to a world filled with lush greenery, tranquil waterways, and an abundance of wildlife. The Fern Forest Nature Center in Florida is a nature lover’s paradise, offering visitors the chance to explore more than 250 acres of pristine land.

From hiking trails that wind through dense forests to boardwalks that lead over marshes teeming with life, this natural oasis has something for everyone.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, Fern Forest Nature Center Florida promises to be an unforgettable experience.

So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to discover one of Florida’s best-kept secrets!

Find Serenity Beneath the Towering Hardwood Trees and Greenery

One of South Florida’s best examples of native plant communities that have been conserved in this 247.1-acre park, which was declared an Urban Wilderness Area and opened in November 1985.

It has 10 different plant communities. The several pathways in Fern Forest are centered on these areas. A 20-foot-tall viewing platform is part of the one-mile Prairie Overlook Trail, which swings through open prairie and an oak/cabbage palm habitat.

A half-mile wheelchair-accessible boardwalk winds through a low hardwood hammock and a community of maple and cypress trees on the Cypress Creek Trail. Boots are advised for The Maple Walk because it is a third of a mile-long red maple swamp.

The eighth-mile Wetlands Wander is an instructive walk, while the Sensory Garden Trail offers a tranquil setting for rest and contemplation.

Fern Forest Nature Center Florida garden trail

The main building of the nature center has a 120-seat amphitheater that is open on three sides, as well as an exhibit room with native reptiles and informational displays about the park.

The 2,343 square-foot Royal Fern Hall, which can accommodate 120–175 people, is located on the second level. It is a gathering space with a fully functional catering kitchen and buffet counter. A rented pavilion with eight picnic tables, water, and electricity is located close to the entrance to the nature center.

A separate picnic spot nearby includes six tables that are offered on a first-come, first-served basis (no grills or fires are permitted).

Fern Forest also features “Fern-Lore Guardian,” a sculpture by Jerome Meadows that was placed in December 1993 and is located behind the main building as part of the county’s Public Art and Design initiative.

Scientists from Florida Atlantic University and Broward Community College described the location as “the last remaining stronghold of ferns in southeastern Florida” when they visited the site that is now the nature center in 1979.

They claimed to have found “over 200 species of plants, and the list grows with each visit.”

The park was once called Cypress Creek Hammock in recognition of the fact that it is a remnant of the Cypress Creek drainage system, which was permitted in the early 1900s to make more land suitable for cultivation.

Since the 19th century, the area has been used as farmland, initially for crops including pineapples, tomatoes, beans, and peppers, and later for dairy farming. In the 1930s, logging and milling activities were also located in certain parts of the region.

What Is There to Do at the Fern Forest Nature Center?

Fort Lauderdale is renowned for its breathtaking coastlines, thrilling events, and a vast selection of neighborhood stores. The abundance of natural beauty is another feature that makes “The Venice of America” famous.

What Is There to Do at the Fern Forest Nature Center
Photo Credit: Tamanoeconomico

Fort Lauderdale has various locations that are ideal for any wildlife enthusiast while being typically thought of as an urban paradise. The Fern Forest Nature Center, one of our favorite destinations, is covered in this guide.

Trails at the Fern Forest Nature Center

Hiking is one of the most well-liked ways to enjoy this special outdoor destination. After bringing lots of water and sunscreen, start your instructive trek through the woods! The center offers the paths listed below.

A half-mile long, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk that travels through a tropical hardwood forest and cypress-maple swamp is known as the Cypress Creek Trail.

Trails at the Fern Forest Nature Center

A mile-long track that loops across an open prairie and an oak grove is known as the Prairie Overlook Trail. Even an eight-foot-tall viewing platform is included on this route!

Red Maple Walk: Although this trail is only a third of a mile long, it is frequently muddy and rainy. Don’t be afraid to get muddy boots while you wear them!

Wetlands Wander: This interpretive trail runs along a canal and offers fabulous views of South Florida’s natural wetlands (and a butterfly garden)!

Sensory Garden Trail: This is less of a hiking trail and more of a quiet area designed for maximum relaxation.


Located in Coconut Creek, the 244-acre Fern Forest Nature Center is a Broward County Park.

You will pass through a cypress/maple swamp, a tropical hardwood hammock, a pine/palm/oak hammock, and a dry prairie via hiking pathways on the ground and an elevated boardwalk. The property of Fern Forest contains more than 30 different species of ferns.

The Cypress Creek region was used for agriculture from 1870 until 1906.

A drainage plan for Cypress Creek was developed in 1909 by Governor Broward as part of a wider scheme to drain the Everglades for cultivation.

A canal was finished, dairies were created, and logging and milling activities had started by 1930.

Residents of Broward County decided to buy 254 acres for a new nature center in 1978 in order to protect the area’s distinctive floral features. The public-access Fern Forest Nature Center first opened its doors in 1985, and the city of Coconut Creek later acquired it.

Photo Credit: Jacob Edri

Discover the Cypress Creek Boardwalk, Maple Walk, Prairie Overlook, and Wetland Wanderer Trails. Discover the migratory birds as well as gopher tortoises, raccoons, coyotes, marsh bunnies, and great horned owls that are frequently seen at Fern Forest.

Observe pollinators at work and their beauty at the Butterfly Bridge. In the forest, look for 10 different plant communities. Take your lunch with you and dine al fresco in the picnic area.

The park is open for hiking only, so no bikes or pets are allowed. Other Park amenities include an amphitheater, exhibit hall, meeting room rental, and wedding rental.

Admission and parking are always free and the park is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day except Christmas. The trails close at 4:45 pm.

Other Services Offered by the Center?

At this natural center, trails are just the beginning of what you might discover. The Fern Forest Nature Center has a huge variety of kiosks, boardwalks, and exhibits that you can explore.

Here are some of the services that are offered to visitors.

Exhibit Hall: A place indoors where guests of all ages can take in live exhibits of local reptiles
A 2,343-foot assembly hall called Royal Fern Hall has a warming kitchen and a buffet counter.
A covered, open meeting place for events like weddings and concerts

“Fern-Lore Guardian” is an original bronze sculpture by Jerome Meadows.
An outdoor meeting spot with six picnic tables is a picnic area.
A covered outdoor area with eight picnic tables, electricity, and water serves as a shelter.

From its towering hardwood trees to its lush fern understory, the Fern Forest Nature Center offers visitors a glimpse into the natural beauty that Florida has to offer.

With over two miles of hiking trails winding through various ecosystems, there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore and discover something new.

So whether you’re interested in birdwatching or simply want to relax amid peaceful surroundings, this park is definitely worth a visit!

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