As someone who frequently escapes to the serenity of Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, I'm both excited and a tad inconvenienced by the flurry of renovation projects happening through Spring 2024. The center's building, parking lot, and the much-loved boardwalk are all getting facelifts. While these updates promise an enhanced experience for us all in the long run, here’s a little guide I’ve put together on how to navigate these changes during your visits.
Expect Limited Access But Look Forward to Improvements
Starting January 16, 2024, we’re going to see some significant changes. The parking lot and boardwalk access will be somewhat of a puzzle, and parking will be a rare find directly at the center. They’ve updated a map on their website to help us out, and I highly recommend giving it a glance before heading over. For all the nitty-gritty details, the Facility Improvements and Closures page is where it’s at.
Parking and Entrance Woes: The south loop of the parking lot is off-limits due to construction (think ADA parking spaces and a ramp), squeezing the available onsite parking. But here’s a tip: there’s additional paid parking down at Red Reef West, just south of the center on A1A. It’s a small walk but totally worth it for the peace and tranquility Gumbo Limbo offers.
Boardwalk Access: Our beloved boardwalk is caught up in this too. Direct access from Gumbo Limbo might be hit or miss for a while. The good news? You can still get to the boardwalk via Red Reef West. Just remember, from January 16, 2024, there won’t be any after-hours access from the Nature Center’s side.
Observation Tower Update: Part of the boardwalk loop is closed off because they’re building an ADA accessible observation tower. While it’s a bit of a bummer to miss out on the full loop, sticking to the western side should keep you on track. I’m personally buzzing with excitement for the tower’s completion in Spring 2024 – it’s going to add such a fantastic viewpoint to the center.
Making the Best of It
Yes, these renovations mean we’ll have to adjust our usual routines and perhaps face a few inconveniences. However, thinking about the accessible, improved facilities that await us makes it all seem worth it. I’m looking at this period as a short-term compromise for a long-term gain. Plus, it’s a reminder of the importance of supporting places like Gumbo Limbo Nature Center that do so much for wildlife conservation and education.
Let’s keep supporting our favorite nature escape, even through its awkward construction phase. The new features, especially that observation tower, are going to make our visits even more special. Here’s to making new memories at Gumbo Limbo in Spring 2024 and beyond!