The nature center complex is a 1,500-acre coastal mangrove wetland that’s home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including some threatened and endangered species. Three extensive paddling trails offer access to this wilderness area for sightseeing and fishing. Fossil fuel boats are not permitted in the open waters and on the paddling trails of West Lake. Trail maps are available at the visitor center. The nature center is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.
Admittance is free. A $2/person exhibit hall fee applies.
The exhibit hall also provides a rotating display of nature-themed works by local artists and photographers. Many artists offer gallery receptions during their monthly exhibitions. Call the park for current gallery artist(s) and reception information. Artists interested in displaying their work can contact the park at 954-357-5161.
This 3,304-square-foot banquet hall (180 capacity) is popular for weddings and receptions, bar and bat mitzvahs, anniversary celebrations, corporate meetings, and other group functions. The facility includes a caterer’s warming kitchen and individual dressing rooms for the bride and groom. An adjacent boardroom (15 capacity) can be rented separately for smaller meetings. The courtyard area outside the Mangrove Hall is also available for outdoor ceremonies. Mangrove Hall floor plan.
This 200-seat outdoor area adjacent to the park’s exhibit hall features a stage and shaded areas and is available for rental.
Take the elevator or stairs to the top of this 68-foot, five-level structure for spectacular views of the West Lake mangrove estuary, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Lake Observation Trail
A 0.2-mile trail leading to a covered area with a breathtaking view of West Lake.
Fishing Pier Trail
This 783-foot trail leads to two prime fishing spots along the Intracoastal Waterway. Catch-and-release is encouraged, and all state fishing regulations apply.
Mud Flat Trail
A 0.3-mile trail that includes prime spots for viewing resident and migratory birds feeding and resting. The trail leads to a covered lookout point at its end.
This 2.3-mile gravel trail, accessible from the north side of the park, meanders through mangroves and is popular with walkers and bicyclists. There are two gazebos, one with a great view of the Intracoastal Waterway. Trail map and photos.
Public Art and Design
The plaza flanked by the exhibit hall building, the Mangrove Hall, and the visitor center includes Miami-based artist Christine Federighi’s Mangrove Root Benches – half a dozen benches, no two alike, fashioned from slabs of coral rock and supported by bronze legs modeled after mangrove prop roots. The plaza’s interlocking paver stones are designed to suggest mangrove leaves. “The benches were designed to reflect man’s involvement with the site,” says the artist. “We sit with Nature.”