You’re driving through the the Everglades and you see a sign that says, “Skunk Ape Research Facility.” Do you stop, or do you keep going thinking, “What kind of person goes there?” The answer to that question is, “I do!!!” You are missing out if you don’t. The research facility is on hwy 41 in the middle of the Everglades. If you’re road-tripping down to the Keys, it’s the perfect place to stop for some leg stretching.
For those that don’t know, which is most of us, the Skunk Ape is the Everglades version of Bigfoot. It’s a large primate type thing, that allegedly lives up in the trees, feasting on deer liver and beans. I can promise you that I’m not advising you to stop to see a bunch of hazy pictures of grown men running around in ape suits. What you will see, though, is a lot of really cool animals and exceptionally helpful staff.
That nice gentleman is the main caretaker for all of the animals. He will happily stand there and tell you about each individual creature’s personalities, quirks and preferences. He will also feed many of those large birds dozens of cashews right out of his mouth. His immune system must be impressive.
We went through the whole animal tour without even a slight mention of the Skunk Ape. That was until I walked outside and asked a group of locals, “So who knows about the Skunk Ape?” Apparently, the world’s leading skunk ape expert was one of the men standing there when I asked. I got the full skunk ape tour complete with YouTube video clips, a book, personal stories of encounters from the man himself and more information than I could have ever wanted about a creature that almost certainly doesn’t exist. It was an adventure. I would recommend the stop 100%. Admission is only $5 and it’s worth every penny!