Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge

Tuesday 11/17/2009 Day 5: Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge

After visiting the awesome Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum in Titusville, we headed up US-1 towards the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is closed 3 days before a shuttle launch to prevent people from hiding out to see the launch from up close. The refuge borders NASA Kennedy Space Center, and we were sure to drive down to the beach to get close to the pads, although we had already seen the launch the day before. The majority of the pictures from our trip to Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge are available in much larger sizes in my Flickr photo gallery.

Butterfly

Butterfly

After briefly stopping at the visitor center for a map and directions we headed out to take a few wildlife drives, and race out to the manatee viewing platform. Unfortunately there were no manatees at the viewing area, so we returned down the road and took the Blackpoint Wildlife drive. It was an awesome drive and we saw tons of birds and wildlife.

On the way to the wildlife drive we saw many vultures, some Great Egret’s and some Snowy Egrets.

Egrets

Egrets

Egrets

Egrets

Once we started on the drive we saw several alligators, and some more birds, as well as an Osprey on one of the Bald Eagle platforms.

Gator

Gator

Birds

Birds

Osprey

Osprey

We toured the wetland area and saw lots of birds including lousiana herons.

Wetlands

Wetlands

Louisiana Heron

Louisiana Heron

Ibis

Ibis

Blue Heron

Blue Heron

We saw a Bald Eagle land on a far away platform. On the way out we shooed a snake off the road so it wouldn’t get run over.

Snake

Snake

Infrared Wetlands

Infrared Wetlands

After doing the wildlife drive, we headed down towards the seashore on a winding road through the marshes. There we got some super close up views of a great blue heron.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Then after rounding a corner we had to stop the car after another alligator was blocking the road. He was huge! There was no way around, so form a safe distance we got out of the car to see him and take some photos before he slid back into the water. A definite highlight of the whole trip.

Big Gator

Big Gator

Big Gator

Big Gator

We then made it down to the seashore where we could see the launch pads at sunset and the beach. It was a great end to the day and to the whole trip.

Pad 39B Sunset

Pad 39B Sunset

Ocean

Ocean

Ocean

Ocean

Sunset

Sunset

As always, larger pictures of our full trip to Florida are available from my Flickr photo gallery.

Comment is closed.