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Biscayne National Park is best known for its beautiful islands and clear waters, but until recently visitors would need to have their own boat to fully enjoy the park. Now, they can easily board a tour and visit Biscayne National Park’s iconic Boca Chita Key thanks to a partnership between the City of Homestead, Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Florida National Parks Association, and the National Park Service.
To celebrate this development, Biscayne National Park hosted a special tour for media and local dignitaries including Homestead Councilman Stephen R. Shelley and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss. The intimate tour was hosted by long-time Biscayne National Park Ranger Gary Bremen, who shared the unique history and ecology of the Park’s iconic sites.
“It’s so exciting to be able to continue Homestead’s partnership with the National Park Service to allow more people to explore South Florida’s National Parks to their fullest,” said Councilman Shelley. “Now, visitors can hop on the Homestead National Parks Trolley for a free guided tour and then continue on to see a guided tour of all Biscayne National Park has to offer.”
Guided boat tours depart from the park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through May 1, 2016. Departure times are at 10:30 a.m. and/or 1:45 p.m. Check the online calendar for specific dates and times available. Boat tours feature the Miami-Dade Parks’ Pelican Skipper, a comfortable riding, ADA accessible, 45 foot power catamaran. Tours are guided by Biscayne National Park. Visitors may enjoy the beautiful scenery while learning about the history, wildlife and ecosystems of the park. Each tour lasts approximately two and a half hours and includes opportunities to explore popular and scenic Boca Chita Key and the park’s iconic and historic lighthouse.
The boat tours cost $29 plus tax for adults and $19 plus tax for kids aged five to twelve. Admission is free for children age 4 and under, when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Advance reservations are advised for this tour. Reservations can be made by calling the Florida National Parks Association at (786)335-3644 or by stopping by their visitor center bookstore.
Walk-ins and groups are welcome provided that the trip is not full. Reservations must be confirmed in person no later than an hour prior to tour time. Each tour ticket purchase allows a same-day free admission to Homestead Bayfront Park. Free guided trolley tours to the park are provided by the City of Homestead from Losner Park in Downtown Homestead. Trolley arrival and departure times are coordinated with the island boat tour schedule.
For more information on the Homestead National Parks Trolley and the Biscayne National Park Island Boat Tour, visit www.cityofhomestead.com/gateway