11/19 update: Green Cay Wetlands is closed while construction is going on.
One family can make a difference in the quality of life for their community. Nearly two decades ago, my friends Ted and Trudy Winsburg decided they wanted to leave a legacy with the land they owned in Boynton Beach, the land they farmed for many, many years, growing prize peppers. They saw surrounding farmers sell out to developers and didn’t want their farm to end that way. When I first met them, brand-new zero lot line housing pressed up right against their property boundaries. Ted showed me the architectural drawings for the wetlands park and visitor center, and he and Trudy were excited that their dream was becoming reality.
Nearly 100 acres of the farm is now underwater and serves as a natural filtration and water reclamation area, attracting hundreds of birds. Two boardwalks circle the wetlands, providing opportunities galore for wildlife watching. And to cap it off, there is a nature center with an alligator tank, excellent movie, interactive activities, and more! It’s a perfect family destination, no matter what time of year. Go early to see the birds at their most active.
Location: Boynton Beach
Length: 1.5 and 0.5 mile loops
Lat-Long: 26.485797, -80.161733
Fees / Permits: none
Bug factor: low to moderate
Restroom: Yes, in the nature center
You’ll want to take your time around the loops, as there as so many birds – and other wildlife, including turtles and alligators – to see. Be sure to visit the nature center for an orientation to the wildlife and the landscape you’ll encounter here. There’s a great gift shop inside with nature toys and books plus arts and crafts from local artists.
From Florida’s Turnpike, exit on Boynton Beach Blvd. Drive east one block and turn right on Hagen Ranch Road. Drive south several miles until you see the entrance for Green Cay Wetlands on the left.
Start your walk at the nature center by heading right to walk counterclockwise around the outer loop. The boardwalks pass over waterways of various depths, and this particular section is deep. You might see an alligator drifting along the surface. At the first boardwalk junction, keep right—the boardwalk to the left creates a short loop back to the nature center.