EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK We stayed one night in Homestead, Florida, at a Courtyard Marriott Hotel, which was the site of our car break-in. The Hotel was comfortable and the staff very helpful when they learned of the theft. The Homestead Policeman was also very quick on site and extremely cooperative. FLAMINGO ENTRANCE AND ERNEST COE VISITOR CENTER The Visitor Center is very informative and comfortable, but we only stayed long enough to pick up maps and trail suggestions. One very important and funny warning we received concerned the tarps we saw piled in big containers at the entrance to the Coe Center. We asked what they were used for and the ranger smiled and said “to keep black vultures from ripping and chewing windshield wiper blades and other rubber parts of a car’s exterior. They can really wreak havoc in just a few minutes.” We half laughed thinking it was a joke, but she was serious. She added, “You can borrow one, particularly if you are going to stop at the Royal Palm Visitor Center. They are particularly active there right now! Just please bring it back when you leave the park.” We had not planned to stop at Royal Palm, so we decided not to take a tarp. Then we headed straight to the Flamingo Entrance to the Park. Much has changed since Hurricane Andrew devastated the are in 1992. The Café and Visitor Center have been replaced, there is a marina for private boaters and for renters. Several other buildings have sprung up too—public restrooms, a camp grocery store, gas station and improved boardwalk style trails.
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