Green Cay Wetlands Nature Preserve - Boynton Beach, Green Cay Wetlands Nature Center, South Florida Wetlands: Palm Beach and Broward Counties, Florida
Green Cay Wetlands Nature Preserve - Boynton Beach - 1.5 miles
Green Cay Wetlands Nature Center
|Round-Trip Length:||1.5 miles (Length may vary depending on route)|
|Start-End Elevation:||33' - 33' (44' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||0' net elevation change|
Green Cay Wetlands Nature Preserve - Boynton Beach - 1.5 Miles Round-Trip
A mini-Everglades can be found right in Palm Beach County - The Green Cay Wetlands Preserve and Nature Center is located in Boynton Beach, Florida and is easily reached from I-95 or the Florida Turnpike.
For over 40 years, Ted and Trudy Winsberg grew vegetables from their Green Cay Farm. Rather than see their beautiful land fall prey to large-scale commercial development, the family created the Green Cay Wetlands. Their love of nature and supreme generosity resulted in the preservation of 100 acres of pristine Florida wetlands. The land has now been restored to its pre-farm condition and provides an oasis for animals and people alike.
From the Green Cay Nature Center, a series of raised boardwalks leads visitors through a diverse set of sub-tropical habitats. In an environment where mere inches can dictate great ecological change, Green Cay plays home to a wide variety of beautiful flora and fauna.
The preserve can be split into 4 general zones:
Deep Zones: Open water pond areas that attract waterfowl and diving birds, with an average water depth of 4 feet.
Freshwater Marshes: Emergent marsh areas which are home to moorhens, sparrows and rails. Average water depth is between 6" - 8".
Higher Elevations: Forested wetlands available for long-term habitat development. Elevations can be up to 6 feet above the waterline.
Tree Islands: Islands with shrubs, trees and bushes used for birds to nest. Average elevation is around 1 foot above the waterline.
Along the boardwalk, visitors can stop and read interpretive signs or relax under a chickee hut which were built in traditional Seminole fashion from cypress logs and cabbage palm branches.
Due to the diversity of habitat, Green Cay is rife with wildlife and is a birders paradise. Birds at the wetlands include a wide variety of Egrets, Herons, Grebes, Shorebirds, Waterfowl, Owls, Nighthawks, Hummingbirds, Warblers, Gulls, Wrens, Swallows, Jays, Crows, Blackbirds, Tangers, Grosbeaks and many more. Keen eyes and a pair of binoculars are must-haves when meandering through Green Cay.
In addition to birds, visitors can look forward to seeing various species of turtles including the Florida Red-bellied Turtle or the Peninsular Cooter. Alligators can also be commonly seen in deeper waters of Green Cay and the fortunate few may catch a glimpse of a bobcat, snake or one of the various frog species.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by the Nature Center and chat with a naturalist prior to setting out. To enrich your experience, it is highly recommended to purchase a bird or animal identification pamphlet to enable you to identify the birds or animals you might see while at Green Cay.
There is no set route at Green Cay, so it is up to the visitor to walk along the boardwalks at their leisure.
- N26 29.141 W080 09.719 — Green Cay Visitor Center - Start of Boardwalk
- Admission is free to Green Cay but special programs may require a fee
- The Visitor Center is closed on Mondays but open from Tuesday through Friday from 10:00am - 4:30pm; Saturday from 8:15am - 4:30pm and Sunday from 10:00am - 4:30pm; The boardwalk is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
- The Green Cay Wetlands naturally filter several million gallons of highly treated water each day from Palm Beach County's Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility.
- The wetlands help to recharge groundwater resources and keep water in the earth's water cycle. To accomplish this natural filtration, Green Cay was designed to incorporate 86 different species of trees, shrubs, grasses and aquatic vegetation.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- Camping and backpacking is not permitted Green Cay Wetlands Preserve.
- Fishing is not permitted at Green Cay Wetlands Preserve.
Rules and Regulations
- Boardwalk is open sunrise to sunset daily - seven days a week
- No pets allowed
- No food is permitted on the boardwalk
- There is absolutely no running, jogging or speed walking on the boardwalk
- Bicycles, rollerblades/skates or skateboards are prohibited
- Smoking is not permitted anywhere in Green Cay
Directions to Trailhead
Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands is located at 12800 Hagen Ranch Road in Boynton Beach, Florida, between Boynton Beach Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue on the east side of the road.
From I-95, exit at Atlantic Avenue and head west for several miles. Turn right onto Hagen Ranch Road and head north until you reach the Green Cay Wetlands on your right hand side.
The entrance for Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands is located SOUTH of "Native Green Cay" (12750 Hagen Ranch Road - which is a farm). Please DO NOT turn into the farm. The correct entrance has signs that read "Green Cay Wetlands".
Green Cay Wetlands and Nature Center
12800 Hagen Ranch Road
Boynton Beach, FL 33437