Brevard County

Destination Brevard: Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge

Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge photo: cyndi lenz

Instead of heading home after Thanksgiving Day I decided to drive home the long way. The very long way and I headed over to Cape Canaveral hoping to take in a bit of NASA and a bit of Merritt Island Wild Life Refuge.

I have not been to Merritt Island since my 34 year old son was 3. You get so busy. It’s hard to get in the car and drive. I was feeling a bit burnt out and I needed to get my #visitfl on!

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is located due east of  Titusville  on Merrit Island. It occupies 140,000 acres.

The land occupied by the NWR was acquired by NASA in the early 1960s for the development of the Space Center and its non-operational purposes.

The refuge provides a range of habitats, from saltwater estuaries  and freshwater impoundments and marshes, to dunes, hardwood hammocks, and scrub. It contains over 1000 species of plants, 117 species of fish, 68 ampphibians and reptiles, 330 birds, and 31mammel species. Of these species, 21 are listed as endangered either by the state of Florida or by the US federal government.

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge photo: cyndi lenz

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
photo: cyndi lenz

There is a wonderful visitor center and I suggest you go there first. Just take the main road in and follow the signs. When the sign says go right I suggest you do that. For some reason I thought the visitor center was down by the launch pad and when I got to the guard house the very nice gentlemen directed me in the correct direction. “I’m lost.” I said He  nonchalantly redirected me. I’m sure he gets 100s of visitors a day like me that decide to turn a right hand turn into a straight line. AH Floridians. We are not really known for following directions. Note building below. This is where you want to go.

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge photo: cyndi lenz

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
photo: cyndi lenz

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge photo: cyndi lenz

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
photo: cyndi lenz

Inside the visitor’s center there are many exhibits and interactive games for the kids. In the bathroom there was a note by the sink that the water was for washing your hands and not for drinking but there was a big cooler right outside the door with nice fresh water if your like me and traveling with your dog.

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge photo: cyndi lenz

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
photo: cyndi lenz

There is a good sized birding trail right here with all kinds of small gardens that will for sure motivate you to think about making a butterfly garden in your back yard.

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge photo: cyndi lenz

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
photo: cyndi lenz

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge photo: cyndi lenz

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
photo: cyndi lenz

And this is what Poison Ivy looks like. Take note.

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge photo: cyndi lenz

Visitor Center Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge
photo: cyndi lenz

There is so much to do in this area I would plan for a few days. There are lots hotels and restaurants around and places to go camping.

Here is a link to our photo gallery of today in Brevard County.

 

 

 

 

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