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SUWANNEE RIVER VISITOR CENTER: Temporarily closed.
This remote park is a primary entrance to the legendary Okefenokee Swamp -- one of Georgia's seven natural wonders. Spanish moss-laced trees reflect off the black swamp waters, while cypress knees rise upward from the glass-like surface. Here, paddlers and photographers will enjoy breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. Alligators, turtles, raccoons, black bears, deer, ibis, herons, wood storks, red-cockaded woodpeckers and numerous other creatures make their homes in the 402,000-acre refuge. Stargazers will appreciate the particularly dark sky. Astronomy programs with an 18" telescope are sometimes offered.
Park staff offer guided boat tours at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Same-day reservations are recommended. Sunset tours are offered upon request, call the park for details. More adventurous visitors may wish to rent canoes, kayaks or jon boats for further exploration of the swamp, including a trip to historic Billy’s Island. Fishing in the lake is excellent, particularly for warmouth, bluegill, catfish, chain pickerel and bowfin. Boating is dependent upon water levels. Overnight guests may stay in a shaded campground or fully equipped cabins. Because the state park is located within a National Wildlife Refuge, gates lock at closing and a refuge fee is charged.
Perhaps the most famous inhabitant of the Okefenokee Swamp is the American Alligator. Officials estimate that 12,000 of the country’s largest reptile live within the 402,000-acre refuge. To safely view these creatures, visitors should admire them from a distance and keep hands and feet inside boats. Pets are not allowed in boats, even privately owned vessels. Children should not play near the water’s edge. Feeding any wildlife is prohibited. Following these guidelines will help visitors have a safe and entertaining experience in one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.
At the park's Suwannee River Visitor Center
in Fargo, visitors learn not only about the Okefenokee Swamp's ecosystem, but also how buildings can be made from recycled car parts. Located off Hwy. 441 at the Suwannee River bridge, the center mixes environmental education with engineering showmanship. Inside, visitors learn that tannic acid produced by decaying vegetation is what gives the river its tea color, and that unlike other reptiles, mother alligators actively care for their babies. A third of the building materials was made from recycled content, including a retaining wall made from old dashboards and electrical cables. Call ahead to confirm hours of operation.
Because Stephen C. Foster State Park is located within a National Wildlife Refuge, gate lock at closing and a $5 refuge fee is charged.
Stephen C. Foster State Park Business Plan