Florida Panther Festival: Eco Adventures

On Sunday, November 16, the Florida Panther Festival is dedicated to on-site field trips. Four unique outings are scheduled throughout the day, each exploring a different state park, preserve, reserve or refuge. Attendees hoof it by foot, pedal, and by wheel in swamp buggyies, on expeditions exploring some of Florida’s unique primordial landscapes. Prices vary per excursion, and advanced registration is required.


Big Cypress National Preserve Bear Island Panther Bike Ride

Grab the two-wheeler and pedal through 14 miles of the elusive cat’s home range on a ranger-guided bike ride through Big Cypress National Preserve’s Bear Island. The tour includes several stops at strategic spots to look for signs of panther tracks and activity while learning about the habitat and Preserve research activities.

  • The bike ride runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Limited to 15 people, 12 years and up.
  • The ride costs $10; attendees must bring their own bike.
  • To register click here.

Florida Panther - Florida Panther National Wildlife Preserve

Tour & History of Picayune Strand State Forest

Join Florida Forest Service members as they discuss the works under way in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP). Visitors will observe the work on the Picayune Strand Restoration Project, a CERP project designed to restore the natural flow of water to the bays of the Ten Thousand Islands area. Along the way, visitors will learn about the importance of the habitat for Florida panthers, the goal of CERP and, depending on water level, a short hike to see some of forest’s old cypress trees.

  • The tour runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Limited to 12 people.
  • Admission costs $10 per person.
  • To register, click here.


Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge Buggy Tour & Hike

This in-the-field morning takes visitors on both a hike and on a swamp buggy tour of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, brining guests deeper into panther territory than most have ever ventured. Hikers will join a refuge biologist on a 90-minute hike to learn about the panther management and research projects taking place in the preserve while exploring the panther’s home range.

   For a horsepower expedition into the swamp, visitors will load up in swamp buggies for a 90-minute tour of the preserve. This not only will allow for participants to explore deep into the preserve, it’s really fun to boot.

  • The Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge Buggy Tour & Hike runs from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Limited to 25 people.
  • Admission costs $25 per person.
  • To register, click here.
Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge - Photo by Josh O'Connor, USFWS

Sunrise at Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo by Josh O’Conner, USFWS


Captain Steve’s Big Cypress Swamp Buggy Adventure

Cruise the Big Cypress National Preserve aboard a swamp buggy with fifth-generation “Gladesman” Captain Steve. The three- to four-hour tour takes guests deep into the preserve on all-terrain buggies, bringing riders up-close and personal with the landscape and ecosystem. Keep the eyes peeled for birds of all feathers, alligators, black bears, deer and more.

  • Tour times are 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; 2-6 p.m.
  • Limited to six people per tour.
  • Admission costs $50 per person.
  • To register, click here.

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