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Excitement and thrills on four wheels! Normally this would refer to the action on the track at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, but this year it’s all about the special route of Homestead’s National Parks Trolley running from the Speedway’s RV Lot to Everglades and Biscayne National Parks on Thursday, November 17, 2016.
Thanks to a partnership between the City of Homestead, Homestead-Miami Speedway, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, NASCAR fans will be able to enjoy free guided tours of the parks. On Thursday, November 17th routes run from the RV Lot to Everglades National Park at 8:45AM, 10:05AM, 10:27AM, 12:00PM, 1:10PM, 1:41PM, 2:20PM, 3:30PM, and 3:40PM and to Biscayne National Park at 8:45AM, 9:19AM, 9:53AM, 12:52PM, 2:56PM, and 4:40PM.
Everglades National Park is hosting a day full of special activities celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Royal Palm State Park, which later became Everglades National Park. Join the Anhinga Amble at 10:30AM or 3:00PM to see alligators, wading birds, and other unique wildlife. Sit in on the Speaker Series at 11:00AM to hear from esteemed community leaders like the Everglades National Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos and former Director of the National Park Service, Fran Maneila. At 2:00PM Leslie Kemp Poole will discuss her book Saving Florida: Women's Fight for the Environment in the Twentieth Century, which details the struggles of many early female environmentalists and activists—including those that helped to create Everglades National Park.
At Biscayne National Park, explore the crystal clear waters and experience nature up close in their Paddle Tours at 10:45AM and 1:45PM. The brand new Island Boat Tour also departs at 10:00AM and 1:30PM, giving visitors the chance to explore Biscayne Bay and the iconic Boca Chita Key, which features an ornamental lighthouse and was once the private playground of industrialist Mark Honeywell. Island Boat Tours cost $31(plus tax) for adults and $21(plus tax) for kids aged 5-12. Reservations are required: (786) 335-3644.
In addition to the special routes, the entire weekend will feature displays at the Speedway from both Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, NPCA, and Florida National Parks Association. Park Rangers will be present to educate fans about the wildlife and habitats found in the parks. Interactive displays will include touch tables and giveaways. Also, look for appearances by the NPCA mascot, Teddy!
“Thousands of families from around the U.S. come to the race every year,” said Councilman Stephen Shelley. “Bringing the National Parks Trolley to the Ford Championship Weekend is the perfect opportunity for the City of Homestead and the National Parks to expand our partnerships. We’re able to reach out to a whole new audience that might not have been able to explore what Homestead and the Parks have to offer.”
Homestead’s National Parks Trolley closed its third season this past April, winning the National Park Service’s prestigious Director’s Partnership Award. Each year, a select group of projects are honored for the significant accomplishments achieved by Parks and outside groups working together.