During the season, it’s safe to say that most equestrians in Palm Beach County can be found in the saddle every Tuesday through Sunday. Weekends don’t exist for WEF competitors, AGDF riders, and polo players; in fact, they’re usually the busiest two days of the week. Mondays, however, serve the dual purpose of recovering from the hectic atmosphere of the horse show and resting up (before doing it all over again).
While lounging in bed watching the Olympics is certainly an admirable way to spend a Monday, there is truly so much to do and see in Wellington and the surrounding area. Here are three things to check out before the circuit is over!
1. The Wellington Environmental Preserve at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat
Consisting of 365 acres of rainwater storage (it’s a lot prettier than it sounds, I promise!), the Wellington Environmental Preserve is home to miles of paved trails, a six-story observation tower, and a variety of species native to Florida.
This is my favorite park to run—okay, more like walk—in, because the trails are wide and quiet. I’ve spotted alligators here, along with several kinds of very loud birds, turtles, and fish. There are signs posted at the entrance to the park that warn visitors of the presence of cougars, but I have yet to encounter one.
2. Lion Country Safari
We’ve all seen the bright yellow billboards positioned along Southern Boulevard, and as tacky as it might seem, Lion Country Safari is truly one of the crown jewels of south Florida. Home to 95 species and over 1,000 animals, it’s the only drive-through wildlife preserve in the state.
If you’re concerned about being mauled by a lion, don’t be. They live in a fenced-in enclosure and can’t get close to your car. As for the rest of the animals, they roam freely throughout the property, which is divided into 6 other sections.
Last time I visited, a female ostrich took an interest in my car and pecked at my windshield for at least five minutes. It was equal parts hilarious and terrifying.
3. Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Located in Juno Beach, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center is dedicated to the research, rehabilitation, and conservation of the sea turtles that frequent the beaches of south Florida. LMC is currently home to over 20 sea turtles receiving medical care, with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into the wild.
In addition to rehabilitating turtles on site, LMC also patrols the beaches during turtle nesting season and monitors nests until they hatch. Sea turtles are majestic. Visit LMC.
Photos by Meghan Bacso for Noelle Floyd, and courtesy Kate Kosnoff.
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