Florida’s newest wildlife refuge
Wallaby Ranch offers tandem hang-glider rides that soar up above the Lake Wales Ridge. You strap into a tandem glider — a delta-shaped kite with a control bar and suspension — with an instructor. An ultralight towplane pulls you up to 3,000ft in the air, and then you slowly glide back to the ground. It is a great way to see the ENWHR environment as a sandhill crane or caracara might view it.
Bok Tower Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens conservatory works to preserve the endangered plants of the Lake Wales Ridge, the remnant of a 1.5 million-year-old shoreline. Enchanted by the area’s beauty, Edward Bok, a longtime editor of Ladies Home Journal, and his wife, Mary Curtis Bok, purchased the land in 1921, and hired famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead to create a garden and a 205ft tower containing a 60-bell carillon. The stunning Art Deco tower sits on Iron Mountain, the fourth-highest point in peninsular Florida.
Boggy Creek Airboats
Airboats are loud, but still a good way to see the shallow wetlands of the EHNWR. Through Boggy Creek Airboat Rides, you will see much of the iconic wildlife the area was designed to protect: alligators, turtles, egrets, herons, anhingas and more. Part of the tour includes a quieter, low-speed idle through wildlife areas, but when they punch the throttle to whip though the thick Florida atmosphere, hold on.