Eco Pond is like a huge bird hotel. It is good bird watching any time of the day. You see those white spots in thepicture, those are birds. But it is really a spectacular sight at sunset. That's when most of the residents decide to fly in for the night. It is an icredible sight. Once they all found their place in the trees, the concert begings and goes on for about an hour until dark. Don't miss it.
This is the only real restaurant in the park. The only other possibility is the Buttonwood which is pizza and sandwiches open in the evening.
I have no experience with the bar that is associated with the restaurant but I understand that it offers a Flamingo Sunset, a Rum Runner, and a Coco Loco whatever they are.
From November 1 to April 30, breakfast is served from 7 to 10 A.M., lunch from 11:30 A.M. to 3 P.M., and dinner from 5 to 9 P.M. We ate early, but by the time we were finished, people were waiting, so reservations might be a good idea.
From May to October, the restaurant and lounge are open for lunc hand dinner from 11:30 A.M. to 8 P.M
Favorite Dish: The first night we had a waiter with an accent named Ivan. Bob got an appetizer and the soup of the day (beef noodle), and I got a cup of conch chowder and the beef stroganoff which was $9.95. The whole bill was $24.59 including the
We had dinner in the restaurant again the second night, and this time we were going to try Max and Lucette's trick. I had a half roasted chicken dinner, and Bob had the coconut shrimp appetizer. He gave me two of the 6 shrimp, and I gave him the split pea soup-of-the-day (which I don't like but he loves), and half the chicken (pictued)and half of the huge baked potato, and half of the asparagus with hollandaise (which is the vegetable of the day), and then we shared a piece of carrot cake. This came to $34.36 including tip.
The third night at dinner, I had caeser salad, and Bob had mahi mahi with sweet potato (which he shared) and various vegetables which he ate. The soup of the day was mulligatawny which was a cream soup and I ate that. We shared a chocolate fudge cake for dessert and the bill with tip came to $43.71
Check at the Ranger station, next to the restaurant, for the talk schedule. Usually held when it gets dark, at the campground amphitheater, if the mosquitoes allow it, else they bring it indoors to the screened in dinning room patio. The talks range from park history to the local flora and fauna, to astronomy.
**FLAMINGO FACILITIES – Update, June 19, 2006**
Concession services at Flamingo Marina in Everglades National Park are operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts®. Please note the following services available and also review the discontinued services at Flamingo Lodge & Marina from damages sustained by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in the fall of 2005.
The Florida Bay Boat Ramps and the entire Florida Bay side of the Marina are closed for dredging. Estimate completion date is mid-July. Call dredging number. The back country boat ramps are open.
* Marina Store: Open 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Mondays thru Fridays and 6:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
* Fuel Service for Vehicles and Vessels: Unleaded, Premium Unleaded, and Diesel are available for purchase 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily. Please note that fuel is not available for boaters on the Florida Bay side of the marina due to closure for the dredging project.
* Backcountry Boat Cruise: Tours depart at 10:30 am, 1:30 pm, and 4:00 pm Thursdays thru Mondays. Tours are not available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
* Canoe & Motorboat Rentals: Available daily from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Last rentals are at 4:00 pm and all rentals must be returned to the marina by 5:00 pm.
* Attention: The Backcountry Boat Cruise and Marina rentals are contingent upon favorable weather conditions in the summer months. Tour boat cancellations due to weather are not made until departure time. Marina rentals are subject to wind/weather conditions.
Discontinued Services at Flamingo Lodge & Marina (From Damages caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in the fall of 2005)
* Overnight Dockage: The Florida Bay side of the marina is closed for overnight dockage due to the dredging project.
* Overnight Accommodations (Lodge & Cottages): Closed indefinitely. No date for resumption of services.
* Restaurant/Buttonwood Cage and Lounges: Closed indefinitely. No date for resumption of services.
* Houseboat Rentals: Closed indefinitely. No date for resumption of services.
Beware of mosquitoes! Stuart McIver, in his book True Tales of the Everglades, writes of the old days: "One of the settlers' worst enemies were mosquitos. Stories abound that they had been known to kill cows and mules left out for the night."
A naturalist wrote that he had seen an oil lamp put out by a swarm of mosquitoes
We went down the canal in Flamingo by canoe, and I saw that there was a road beside the canal and at the end of it was a canoe trail with a walking trail to Bear Lake next to it. So we decided to explore it. But the mosquitoes were so bad that even though we had repellant on we couldn't stand it and turned back after only about 500 yards
These do's and don't's, are provided by the National Park Service.
DON'T roll down your windows when stopping along roadsides to observe wildlife.
DO avoid grassy areas. Walk only on paved areas.
DON'T wear colognes or perfumes.
DO apply mosquito repellent before getting out of vehicle.
DO wear long pants, long sleeves and closed shoes.
DON'T leave doors open longer than necessary.
DO avoid areas under trees and in the shade of buildings.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
Two things you should not be without: Mosquito repellent, and suntan lotion. Even in the winter when mosquitoes are supposed to be on vacation away from the park, one can run into them in shady places, such as in the hiking trails.
Photo Equipment: Film is expensive at the Flamingo store. Bring it with you.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: The usual.
Miscellaneous: Binoculars are always nice.
Rent a Kayak or a canoe. There are numerous trails from novice to expert. Or you can simply canoe all over Florida bay like these folks. They are headed to a secluded beach in the back country to camp over night. One does need a permit from rangers to go to the back country, and one must take all supplies and bring back all you waste. All of it.