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The Ultimate Guide to the Outdoors and Environment in Broward, Collier, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties.
Almanac Places to Visit
Secret Woods Nature Center
Broward County
raccoon in tree
secret woods
secret woods
secret woods

2701 W. State Road 84
Dania Beach


We don't know exactly how "secret" Secret Woods really is these days. After all, it's just a short drive from two major downtowns in densely developed Broward County. But the "woods" part of the name is dead on. The nature center, the oldest in the county, is 57 acres of mangrove forest, cypress and marine hammock.

It sits along the New River, and provides a glimpse of what Fort Lauderdale might have looked like when the city's namesake army major first arrived in the 1800s to defend the settlement. Two trails weave through the center, the Laurel Oak and the New River. The two combined are just short of a mile, making the center an easy place to explore in an afternoon. The Laurel Oak Trail is mostly mulched surface with a series of short bridges. The New River is mostly boardwalk that winds its way through towering oaks, cypress and mangroves to the banks of the river. Manatees, shorebirds, crabs, woodpeckers, osprey, hawks, warblers, blue jays and the occasional sleeping raccoon are among the wildlife encountered. There's also a butterfly garden.

There is plenty of parking. The trails are well marked with interpretive signs. The one downside is the limited hours. The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More Resources for Secret Woods Nature Center
Institute for Regional Conservation      
Photo Gallery for Secret Woods Nature Center
morning glory ruddy daggerwing pond apple coreopsis
blue mist gay feathers banana spider elderberry
fiddler crab firebush dragonfly woodpecker
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without their express permission.