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Fodor's South Florida 2014
Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center
Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center Review
Get your park map here, but don't just grab and go; this visitor center's numerous interactive exhibits and films are well worth your time. The 15-minute film River of Life, updated frequently, provides a succinct park overview. A movie on hurricanes and a 35-minute wildlife film for children are available upon request. A bank of telephones offers differing viewpoints on the Great Water Debate, detailing how last century's gung ho draining of swampland for residential and agricultural development also cut off water-supply routes for precious wetlands in the Everglades ecosystem. You'll also find a schedule of daily ranger-led activities, mainly walks and talks; information on the popular Nike missile site tour (harking back to the Cuban missile crisis era); and details about canoe rentals and boat tours at Flamingo. The Everglades Discovery Shop stocks books, kids' stuff, and jewelry including bird-oriented earrings, and you can pick up extra water, insect repellent, or sunscreen. Coe Visitor Center, which has restrooms, is outside park gates, so you can stop in without paying park admission.
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