At the End of the Road: Flamingo

Everglades National Park

Descriptive Transcript

Description Narrator: A group of alligators thrash into the water. Fish swim around underwater vegetation. A controlled fire burns a habitat. A bird appears in a hole in a dead tree. A ranger gives a guided canoe tour. Aerial footage of Mangroves. A snail glides along a tree branch.

Everglades National Park. National Park Service logo.

At the End of the Road: Flamingo. The front of a canoe moves through a mangrove tunnel. A Roseate Spoonbill searches in shallow water for food with its wide, spoon-shaped bill.

Speaker 1: Right now, we're in a place called Snake Bight, and Snake Bight is a shallow bay. It's part of much larger Florida Bay, and this is all in the southern portion of Everglades National Park. It's really not that common for a visitor to see a flamingo nowadays because it usually takes some work.

Description Narrator: A Reddish Egret walks in shallow water along the mangrove shoreline.

Speaker 1: Typically, they're going to be a long ways away. They're going to be out in a place like this, out in Snake Bight, which requires a long paddle or a hike down a trail to get to. And even if you go to that effort to look for flamingos, you may not see any.

Description Narrator: The park ranger sits in a canoe out on the water.

Speaker 1: The last time that I saw a wild flamingo was about ten minutes ago. We were paddling out here in the canoe. We saw a flock of five flamingos.

Description Narrator: A flock of Sandpipers fly across the shore covered with dead seagrass.

Speaker 1: You really have to come to Flamingo to see certain things that you may not easily see elsewhere in the park. Flamingo lies at the end of the Main Park Road in Everglades National Park. You have to drive about 40 miles through Pine Forest, Cypress Swamps, Sawgrass Marsh, and then eventually into Mangrove Swamp to get to Flamingo itself.

Description Narrator: Views of the different habitats and park signs.

Speaker 1: As you drive your car down the road, there are a lot of things that you can see, including Hell's Bay and Noble Hammock. A little further down is West Lake, as you continue down, there will be some ponds. Mrazek Pond, Coot Bay can be good places to look for wildlife. Hiking trails begin along the Main Park Road in that area as well. Snake Bight Trail, Rowdy Bend Trail, Christian Point Trail.

Description Narrator: A map of Flamingo Hiking Trails has a warning about mosquitoes.

An osprey sits with its offspring in a nest atop a dead palm tree.

Speaker 1: And then eventually, you will end up at Flamingo and at the Flamingo Visitor Center in the Marina. The Flamingo Visitor Center is a really good place to start out in Flamingo, to learn about what you can do here: different kinds of activities, ranger-guided programs, backcountry camping, backcountry permits, canoe and hiking routes, and all of the other opportunities that you can experience here at Flamingo.

Description Narrator: Views of the Flamingo Visitor Center building.

Speaker 1: It's also a great place to learn about some of the recent wildlife sightings, [a phone rings]  various conditions, weather conditions, tide conditions.

Description Narrator: Whiteboards outside the visitor center list wildlife sightings, weather, and tides.

A ranger answers a phone call in the Flamingo Visitor Center.

Andy: Thank you for calling Flamingo Visitor Center, this is Andy. How may I help you?

Description Narrator: Andy speaks to a visitor.

Andy: It makes it nice when you think, you know, you're only an hour away from one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the country. And you see the stars, it's quiet.

Speaker 2: It is, yes.

Andy: So, you can get away, but still be close to stuff, so.

Speaker 2: Yea, this is nice.

Andy: That's why I like Flamingo, is it's quiet.

Description Narrator: The ranger in a canoe out on the water.

Speaker 1: Flamingo is a jumping off point to explore one of the biggest wilderness areas in the United States, and certainly the biggest wilderness area east of the Rocky Mountains, and that includes Florida Bay and the mangrove backcountry. And a good example of that would be the Wilderness Waterway.

Description Narrator: The Wilderness Trip Planner flyer with a map of the Wilderness Waterway.

Speaker 1: The Wilderness Waterway is a 99-mile canoe, kayak, and boat route that leads from Flamingo all the way to Everglades City on the Gulf Coast to the northwest of here.

Speaker 3: Can I get some information about a boat ride?

Speaker 4: Boat ride!? Boat rides are all taken care of at the green building right next to the gas pumps right across the parking lot.

Speaker 3: Oh, okay.

Description Narrator: An employee at the boat rental shop speaks out the window.

Speaker 4: We rent different kinds of canoes, which is family canoes, and then you have your tandem canoes. And then we have kayaks that are tandem and singles also. We rent skiff boats, and they take that for four hours or eight hours, all day. We offer the backcountry boat tour, and we have the Florida Bay Boat tour.

Description Narrator: Two people in a canoe in the canal. A skiff motors by. A boat tour leaves the dock as a ranger speaks over the intercom.

Speaker 5: We are going to start our cruise right here guys on the right side of the vessel. ...Along the shoreline, well, we are going to back up here a little bit. Can't stay here too long. What we have here is an American Saltwater crocodile right here in Flamingo.

Description Narrator: Crocodiles sleep on branches and rocks along the water.

Speaker 1: For those folks that want to do a canoe trip around Flamingo, you can bring your own canoe or kayak. There are canoe rentals at the marina. We have ranger-guided canoe trips.

Description Narrator: At Nine-Mile Pond, a ranger speaks to a group of visitors before they get on the water. Canoes are lined up along the shoreline. They load the canoes and launch into the water.

Speaker 6: We have American Crocodiles and American Alligators. This guy's a crocodile. So, I’d like to welcome all of you. Thanks for joining me this morning. What we’ll be paddling today will be an ecotone, two habitats colliding. So, we'll get to see the edge in between the red mangrove forested area and freshwater marl prairie.

There's a turtle. Looks like some kind of soft shell right down low.

Speaker 7: There's a turtle right there, he said.

Description Narrator: The ranger and visitors paddle through mangrove tunnels and open water with grass.

Speaker 6: This is kind of the transition zone: we have, you know, the red mangroves here and then over off in the distance, we have the freshwater marl prairie.

Description Narrator: A White Ibis flies from a tree.

Speaker 1: This is a great place for birds.

Description Narrator: A National Park Service Bird Checklist has an illustration of various birds found in the park.

Speaker 1: A lot of birds start coming in here in the winter months, so say from about December through around March into April. That's a good time to come for birds.

Description Narrator: Wood Storks flying and sitting in trees. A power boat cruises by.

A group of people fish from a flats boat in shallow water with wading birds standing nearby.

Speaker 1: The Flamingo area is considered world class fishing. People come here to catch all kinds of fish: tarpon, snook, redfish, sea trout, snapper, black drum, sharks, you name it. There are so many different kinds of fish out here. It's an exciting place that way. And you can go almost anywhere around Flamingo, whether it be out here in a place like Snake Bight, in other parts of Florida Bay, or into the mangrove backcountry, there are fish everywhere you go.

Description Narrator: A fish leaps out of the water. An osprey dives into the water and flies away with a fish.

Speaker 1: We always like to share with visitors different safety considerations that they need to take into account, if they're going to do a paddling trip, whether it be a short or long trip into the Everglades and things to be aware of are changing tides, wind conditions, severe weather, the sun. We always recommend people bring sun protection, sunglasses, sunscreen, bring plenty of water. It's always good to be prepared when you're going to go out into the backcountry.

The main services that are available at Flamingo include the visitor center.

Description Narrator: A ranger speaks to visitors in the shade of a tree with Florida Bay in the background.

Speaker 1: They provide ranger-guided programs, quite a variety of them.

Speaker 7: In 1960, Hurricane Donna hit this place. Hurricane Donna had a twelve-foot storm surge. The waves were crashing through the windows out there.

Speaker 1: There's a campground at Flamingo and also a marina. And at the marina there’s canoe rentals, boat rentals, boat tours, a small convenience store, gas, bicycle rentals, restrooms.

Description Narrator: A Least Sandpiper searches for food along the shore.

Speaker 1: I think what I appreciate most about the nature of this area, there's two things, I appreciate the fact that there are all kinds of species here.

Description Narrator: A Semipalmated Plover walks along the sand.

Speaker 1: Hundreds of different kinds of plants and animals, birds, fish, insects. You can spend your life, and numerous lifetimes, studying all of this life here, and marveling at it, and discovering it.

Description Narrator: A Triangle cactus grows in the shade. A close-up of grasses and succulent vegetation.

Speaker 1: But I also like the fact that it has a tropical character to it. So, a lot of this life is from the Caribbean. You won't find it anywhere else in the country, but right here at the southern tip of Florida, and Flamingo is a great showcase for that Caribbean life.

Description Narrator: West Indian Manatees breach the surface of the water.

Speaker 1: Animals like crocodiles, White-crowned pigeons. A variety of different kinds of plants and trees: Orchids, bromeliads, weird trees with funny names like Gumbo Limbo and Manchineel. So again, it's just all of these different things that you can experience here in terms of the natural history, just goes on and on.

Description Narrator: A Brown Anole lizard sits on a tree leaf.

A Land Crab emerges from the sand.

Speaker 1: Where are the flamingos? That’s too bad.

Description Narrator: The ranger looks for flamingos with his binoculars.

Text – Visit the park website for more information on Flamingo trails and online brochures!

Speaker 1: But it was great to see them anyway.


Description Narrator: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Everglades National Park.

Everglades National Park video.

Featuring: Ranger Bob Showler, Ranger Daniel Blankenship, Ranger Andy Danneker, Ranger Tim Taylor.

Producer, Director, Editor: Jennifer Brown.

Executive Producers: Allyson Gantt, Greg Litten, Alan Scott.

Technical Support: Andrew Pringle.

Music performed by: Laura Inserra, ‘One Day’ from the Hang album and Jami Sieber, ‘Invisible Wings’ from the Lush Mechanique album, Magnatunes Records,


Informational video about visiting Flamingo.


9 minutes, 44 seconds


NPS video by Jennifer Brown

Date Created


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