Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a Florida State Park located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on East Sunrise Boulevard (SR 838), between the Intracoastal Waterway and SR A1A.
Hugh Taylor Birch’s former estate preserves four distinct natural communities between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. It has various watersports & recreational activities, including kayaks, canoes, wave runners, SUP paddleboards, and guided tours. Beachside Eatery & Garden sits amid a shady grove on the Southeast side of Birch Park along A1A, featuring oceanfront seating and views. You can also book the park for private events, weddings, and corporate picnics.
In 1893, Chicago attorney Hugh Taylor Birch came to South Florida in search of a secluded area for his home. He settled in the small Fort Lauderdale village, including a store, a few houses, and the old Army Post remains. Purchasing ocean-front property for about a dollar per acre, he eventually owned a 3.5-mile stretch of beachfront.
In 1940, at age 90, he built his Art Deco-style home, calling his 180-acre estate Terramar or ‘land to the sea.’ Then, wishing to preserve his subtropical paradise from encroaching development, Birch donated his estate as a public park. On December 31, 1941, the Florida Board of Forestry and Parks obtained the title of what became Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. It is now a barrier island of trees and greenery in the middle of urban Fort Lauderdale, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. It is one of the city’s most distinctive features, frequently compared to Central Park, an island of peaceful green vegetation amid a bustling city.
The gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake, butterflies, and turtles are among the park’s wildlife. Visitors also can see gray squirrels, marsh rabbits, and opossums, as well as more than 200 species of wading birds, hawks, and ducks. In addition, after being absent for almost a decade, two thousand fifteen gray foxes returned to the area.
Activities include canoeing, bicycling, fishing, swimming, Segway tours, and group camping. Visitors can also enjoy inline skating, hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Amenities include canoe rental, a mile-long freshwater lagoon, two short trails, a beach, picnic areas, and a group/youth campground. In recent years, an outdoor restaurant and bar joint, Park & Ocean, was built on the park’s outskirts overlooking the ocean.
Terramar Visitor Center
The Terramar Visitor Center is located in the Mediterranean and Art Deco style home of Hugh Taylor Birch, an attorney for Standard Oil who built his home in 1940. The visitor center is open from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Terramar features exhibits about Hugh Taylor Birch, the history of Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s ecology, and the wildlife of the park’s ecosystem.
Address: 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL
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