Sawgrass Recreation Park in west Broward provides a ‘taste test’of the Everglades
On your drive over to or back from the Paradise Coast, consider a stop at Sawgrass Recreation Park (www.evergladestours.com), just north of Interstate 595 at U.S. Highway 27. The family-owned park offers airboat rides and a chance to visit with rescued Florida wildlife – plus an array of Burmese pythons, a komodo dragon-like lizard called a black throat monitor, native to Tanzania; bunnies, turkeys and two potbelly pigs. Fishing and camping also are available.
The concept of back-to-nature in our own backyard has all the makings for a quick getaway. The park is just 20-30 minutes away from east-side cities, amid the flora and fauna of the Everglades.
Christina Soverns Schwartzman, Sawgrass’ vice president of sales and marketing, says “upwards of 150,000 tourists from more than 50 countries visited the park last year.
“We offer a taste test of the Everglades,” she said, adding the park has the largest fleet of airboats in the business. Sawgrass Recreation Park offers boat rides that can accommodate two to 35 visitors and has a schedule of narrated boat tours that can reach 2,500 in a day. The park is included in several pre- and post-cruise destinations and South Florida itineraries for various tour companies.
Schwartzman is one of 10 Soverns family members who work a variety of positions at the park. Cousins and siblings and in-laws abound, Schwartzman said, adding the family all live nearby in Pembroke Pines.
Open daily – except for Thanksgiving and Christmas – the first tours start just after 9 a.m. and the last at 5 p.m. Florida residents get a year-long pass for repeat visits with the purchase of an adult tour, at approximately $20.