My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Chrismas in the Swamp

I wanted to visit the private entrance to Okefenokee Swamp.  It's Okefenokee Swamp Park on the north side, near Waycross, Georgia, about 38 miles from my trailer. It's a non-profit organization that exists to help the public learn about the swamp.  It provides live animals and snakes in captivity.  I had stopped by there and made a deal to be allowed to walk around in the afternoon and see whatever shows were available, then ride the train to see the Christmas lights at 6:00 P.M.

Entrance Building

I started my tour by walking to their boardwalk.  This side of the swamp is has more scrub and lower water levels.  They have to have special boats to be able to give swamp tours. But the boardwalk had more trees than does ours and all the same understory plants. I enjoyed photographing my way along it and then climbing the tower

Afternoon light on air and water

Boardwalk visitor

Rest stop on the boardwalk

Colors and textures to delight

Approaching the tower

Natural decorations

Water plants

After spending about an hour on the boardwalk and tower, I realized I would probably be late for the reptile exhibit.  I rushed back and made it to the nature center in less than ten minutes. Debbie, a volunteer that shows her passion for snakes and alligators, gave us a great talk with the help of two corn snakes and some of their progeny and  two alligators - one only one year old and one four years old.

I was the only kid that got to hold an alligator by myself

After the show, I visited the various live snake exhibits that house snakes native to the area.  I also visited the memorial to Walt Kelly, the creator of Pogo, which is housed in the nature center.

A glimpse into the glass-walled room of the Walter Kelly Memorial

I had time do some more wandering and found an old Camellia garden with several bushes in bloom.  I also found a gravestone for Oscar, an alligator that was full-grown in 1945 and who lived until 2007.  Volunteers spent the next two years preparing his skeleton, even including his scutes back in their original order. His skeleton now lives in a Lucite box and dominates the entrance building.

A beautiful camillia

Oscar's Skeleton

By six o'clock, it was getting dark enough for the Christmas lights to get really beautiful.  I took the first train trip and enjoyed the lights, including one of Pogo.

Deer and Star


This is a fun place to visit where you can be sure to see lots of the animals of the swamp, including live bears, an otter, lots of alligators, and snakes.  For more information, check out their web page.

This display didn't belong but made me homesick for Texas