Secret Woods Nature Center is a 1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The trail is good for all skill levels and is primarily used for hiking, walking, and bird watching.

Distance: 1.0 miles Elevation Gain: 6 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

hiking

walking

bird watching

no dogs

Broward County's first nature center, which opened in September 1978, comprises three vegetative communities found along and influenced by the New River: an inland freshwater cypress/maple wetland, a pond apple/mangrove community along the river, and, farther inland, a laurel oak hammock. The 57-acre site is now designated as an Urban Wilderness Area. Butterfly Island A 3,800-square-foot walk-through butterfly garden where you'll find more than 20 different species of plants that attract butterflies. A 250-foot mulched path winds through the garden and has three benches along the way where you can sit and relax. Among the butterflies commonly seen in the area are the monarch, zebra longwing, cloudless sulphur, queen, gulf fritillary, giant swallowtail, and atala hairstreak. Julia Hall Rustic charm is abundant in this 2,175-square-foot hall, which has tongue-and-groove walls and a ceiling with exposed wooden beams. The room will comfortably seat 75 to 100 people, depending on setup. There is a fully equipped kitchen off the main room, and the adjacent 100-capacity open-air amphitheater measures 2,400 square feet. Wi-Fi is available. Rental of the facility includes chairs and tables (both 60-inch-diameter round tables and 72-by-20-inch rectangular tables are available), as well as use of the kitchen and the amphitheater, which can also be rented separately. The hall is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays. (Rental times include setup and cleanup.) Laurel Oak Trail A 1,200-foot mulched nature trail that takes you from a hardwood hammock through a tidal marsh area and back. When you begin your walk along the Laurel Oak Trail, you are surrounded by laurel oaks, live oaks, sabal palms, wild coffee, green- and red-tipped cocoplum, beautyberry, and white stopper. As you continue down the trail, you will come to a series of four bridges that will carry you through a tidal marsh. There you will see leather ferns, pond apple trees, white mangroves, and a variety of palms. You are also likely to see many birds, squirrels, crabs, and lizards. There are several seating areas along the way. New River Trail This 3,200-foot boardwalk trail, constructed almost entirely from recycled plastic lumber, will take you through three different ecosystems. Your journey begins in a hardwood hammock where you are surrounded by native Florida vegetation such as laurel oak trees, sabal palms, white stopper, wild coffee, strangler figs, and cocoplum. As you get closer to the river, you will come to a tidal marsh area. The boardwalk will then rise above the water line, and you will be able to walk through a tidal marsh area that is completely under water during high tide. There you will see leather ferns, red and white mangroves, pond apple trees, and cypress. Monarch Interpretive Center A 2,000-square-foot facility with interpretive displays and hands-on activities focusing on the nature center's flora and fauna. The center opened in October 2002 and includes a working beehive, along with a reptile habitat with snakes native to the area. Three computer kiosks feature interactive programs about plant, animal, and marine life, as well as weather and soil. There are also displays of Native American artifacts, and a mural depicting Native Americans as they approach historic Stranahan House to trade their wares. The center's video room offers presentations on the Everglades and other nature-related topics, available upon request. Public Art and Design The Monarch Interpretive Center is home to a project called Metamorphosis, a ceramic tile floor by Raymond Olivero that represents the flight pattern of the butterfly. The artist also designed brightly colored butterfly "fresco glass" doors to grace the building's entryway. This site-specific, integrated artwork fuses nature with art and design. "I have taken the flight pattern of the butterfly as the basis for the pathway," the artist says in a statement. "I chose the butterfly not only for its unique flight pattern, but also because it is featured at the park, particularly at its entrance area....I also chose the butterfly motif for the butterfly's innate variety and beauty as well as its metamorphosis, which makes it one of nature's mysteries and secrets. In short, the butterfly offers the greatest degree of aesthetic and metaphorical possibilities."

hiking
6 days ago

Very nice trail for what it is. Tucked away from busy Ft Lauderdale this trail is a great way to look at mangrove canopies or other wildlife for a day

walking
1 month ago

Lovely walking trail, tucked away in Fort Lauderdale. No dogs because it’s a nature center. And no bikes, trails are narrow. Such a great walk with birds and awesome native Florida plants.

3 months ago

Take a boardwalk through small park tucked away along intercoastal. Early mornings best for birds. They have outdoor small amphitheater for yoga and small music get togethers.

hiking
3 months ago

Great nature trials! Love the plants and animals at the park!

walking
4 months ago

I love this trail! It’s quiet and peaceful. During the weeks it’s nice and not so busy which is great. One of my favorites

walking
5 months ago

Nice for walking,

hiking
6 months ago

Nice relaxing trail in fort Lauderdale. Great bathrooms and nature center!!!

hiking
9 months ago

One of my favorite trails that I’ve ever been on! It’s so beautiful. The air is fresh and smells cleansing. The breeze made the trees making creeping noises and it’s so calming to walk through. I went on a hot day but the trail was nice and cool with all the shade. The bathrooms are kept so well and clean. I love this place ❤️

hiking
10 months ago

This place is teeming with wildlife, especially crabs, so if you’re looking for nature education for your kids (or yourself!), it’s paradise. There are a couple of indoor education centers that feature hands-on activities for young children. I was here alone and loved it all the same. Natural bug spray is recommended.

hiking
Sat Apr 13 2019

Sweet little area for a quick walk. Crabs running around and dark marshes for imaginations to run wild. Only have tried the New River trail, can’t wait to try the others.

hiking
Sat Feb 02 2019

Way smaller than I expected, but it was free! The trails were super easy and nicely shaded. The New River Trail is also completely a boardwalk so your shoes won’t get dirty.

Fri Jan 18 2019

Loved this park! It was quiet, the staff was friendly, and everything was really well taken care of

walking
Tue Dec 18 2018

This is a nice easy walk with lots to look at. The sand crabs are everywhere. The museum is nice and very kid oriented. Didn't see much at the boardwalk but I'm sure if you say for a bit there would be birds or even a manatee passing by.

Sat Dec 15 2018

No wheeled vehicles allowed. Super cool

walking
Sat Dec 01 2018

So beautifully !!

hiking
Sun Nov 25 2018

The park is adorable for walking and enjoying nature. We made a almost 4 miles but with walk 3 around for complete our gold but it was easy because the park is nice. Most of the walking is in wood boardwalk. It’s divided by two trails.

Sun Nov 04 2018

Love it

walking
Fri Oct 26 2018

I loved it. I had so much fun exploring.

hiking
Wed Oct 10 2018

Definitely a hidden gem in the area. The trails are not overly scenic or long, but they do bring back memories of big cypress and Everglades outings in years past. Look out for all the cute hermit crabs.

Tue Jul 31 2018

My all time favorite so far. it's all you can ask for.

walking
Wed Jul 11 2018

Wonderful park with beautiful and dense plant diversity! Ive never been to a park with such a goal to educate everyone on plants, wildlife, and insects. I love that you can actually see more wildlife here than any other park!

Sun Mar 04 2018

Despite the description here stating that dogs are allowed if they are on a leash, the park entrance clearly states that dogs are NOT permitted at all! Very disappointing after we drove all the way out here to go for a run with our dog!

hiking
6 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

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2 months ago

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4 months ago

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4 months ago

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