Photo by Tyler Butler
More than 800,000 people each year visit Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands in western Palm Beach County, where they can stroll through a lush, tropical habitat to see birds and other animals.
Now an expansion dubbed Green Cay 2 is in the works. In addition to close-up views of wildlife, the 63-acre project will offer recreational facilities for the whole family including hiking, canoeing and even fishing.
The wetlands park expansion is adjacent to the existing Green Cay facility and the entrance will be on Flavor Pict Road. The $40 million project, meant to be completed by December 2025, will include a water purification facility and will provide drinking water to county residence by replenishing the aquifer.
The water purification plant and a learning center focused on water conservation will be built at the nearby Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility. The facility sends 1 million gallons of treated water a day to the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in west Delray Beach, a similar restoration project.
Green Cay was originally a pepper farm. The farmland was donated to Palm Beach County for water conservation and reclamation. The current wetlands park features a 1.5-mile boardwalk through marshes, a cypress swamp, an alligator hole and hammock islands on 100 acres. A Seminole Chickee Hut and benches are along the boardwalk. The leafy vegetation and wildlife draw photographers, professional and amateur.
Green Cay is now offering a once a month night time nature adventure. Night Stalkers at Green Cay starts with a short presentation about the park by one of Green Cay’s naturalist. Then visitors are taken on a boardwalk tour to see the wildlife at night. The next Night Stalkers event takes place on Feb. 24. It is $5 to join and flashlights are recommended.
Day or night, there are many animals to see at the park including great blue herons, terns, egrets, grebes, pelicans, blue jays, anhingas, moorhens, wood storks and other birds, as well as turtles and alligators. Some Green Cay visitors spot an elusive bobcat.
The Green Cay Wetlands and Nature Center is at 12800 Hagen Ranch Road in Boynton Beach. For further information, call 561-966-7000, or visit the Palm Beach County website.