Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Grassy Waters Preserve a nonprofit organization? How can I make a donation?
Grassy Waters Preserve is a government entity owned and operated by the City of West Palm Beach. However, the nonprofit organization Grassy Waters Conservancy was created to support the Preserve. To learn more about the Grassy Waters Conservancy and to make a donation, please visit their website
Q: What’s that bird in your logo?
: The bird in our logo is an Everglades Snail Kite. Just as the City of West Palm Beach is dependent on the Preserve for its water supply, the survival of the Snail Kite is dependent on the preservation of pristine wetlands like Grassy Waters. Scientists estimate that the Snail Kite will most likely face extinction in the next 30 years. Snail Kite sightings are common at Grassy Waters Preserve, an indicator that we are providing this iconic Everglades resident with the quality habitat it needs to have a fighting chance at survival.
Q: Can I rent a canoe or launch my own canoe or kayak?
Because the Preserve has a high level of ecological protection, the only way to paddle a canoe or kayak at Grassy Waters is on a guided educational tour. We provide all the necessary gear for those tours, but we do not rent canoes or kayaks for visitors to paddle on their own. You also may not launch your own canoe or kayak to paddle at the Preserve.
Q: Will I see alligators?
The Preserve is home to many alligators. Because they are cold blooded, alligators must regulate their temperature by cooling off in the water or warming themselves in the sun. Alligators are also well-camouflaged, so look closely, and with a little luck you’ll see one of our resident reptiles.
Q: How do I volunteer at Grassy Waters Preserve?
Thanks for asking! We greatly appreciate all of our volunteers. Please check out the volunteer page
, and follow the directions there to volunteer with us.
Q: What plants can I put in my yard to attract Florida wildlife?
Our butterfly garden guide
is a good first resource for choosing native plants to attract Florida wildlife. The guide also contains a list of native nurseries where the plants may be purchased. For a complete list of native plants visit Florida Native Plant Society
. In addition to attracting wildlfie, native plants require little to no water, pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer. This helps limit the polluting run-off to keep your watershed clean and saves you money.
Q: Do you take injured or orphaned animals?
Grassy Waters is not licensed to rehabilitate wild animals. If you have an animal in need of care, please contact Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
by calling (561) 575-3399.
Q: Can I release animals at the Preserve?
No. Please do not release any pets or trapped animals in the Preserve. Released wildlife can introduce disease to Preserve animals. Released non-native species also threaten natural areas and can disrupt the existing ecosystem by altering the food chain.
Q: Can I bring my dog to walk on the trails?
No, dogs are not permitted within Grassy Waters in order to keep the Preserve as natural as possible for our native wildlife. The smell or your dog prevents native wildlife like bobcats, foxes, and marsh rabbits from feeling safe in the habitat, and can also attract the attention of alligators looking for a meal. Service dogs are permitted, but we encourage owners to use caution near the water for the safety of their animal.
Q: Can I fish at Grassy Waters?
Fishing is prohibited everywhere in Grassy Waters with the exception of Gator Lake (access from Eagle Trail at 8537 Northlake Blvd.), where catch and release fishing is permitted.
Q: Are there wheelchairs available for use at the Nature Center?
The Nature Center does not have any wheelchairs for public use. Visitors in their own wheelchairs or scooters are more than welcome to use our ADA-accessible Cypress Boardwalk trail.
Q: Do you rent space to the public?
The Preserve does not offer any rental facilities. The use of shelters and picnic tables are available on a first-come first-served basis.
Q: Do you provide airboat tours?
No. We do not offer airboat tours. With the exception of limited use for scientific surveying or by law enforcement to patrol the catchment area, use of motorized vessels within Grassy Waters is prohibited in order to protect the ecological integrity of the Preserve.
Q: Can I ride my bike in the Preserve?
Yes. Use of bikes is allowed on all trails except the Cypress Boardwalk and Eagle Trail. Difficulty of the terrain varies by trail, check out the Trail Information page for more details.