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Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge – Natural Beauty in Florida

Florida RefugeThere are a number of small islands off the mainland coast of Florida. Located just north of Melbourne is the largest of these islands and on the southern tip of this island you will find Merritt Island. With the Indian and Banana Rivers located on either side, it is most well known as the location of NASA’s space launch program but it is also home to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Established in 1963, the Refuge is 140,000 acres in size and provides habitat to over 1,500 plant and animal species. The land was originally acquired by NASA for the building of the Kennedy Space Center and other related facilities but much of the land wasn’t used and was eventually turned over to the Department of Interior.

Approximately twenty miles of the thirty-five mile refuge is open to the public to enjoy the local beauty and wildlife. The Refuge provides habitat for migratory birds, endangered and threatened species, along with an additional array of rare wildlife species. With upwards of 500 wildlife species and over 1,000 species of plants, it is no wonder it is called the “most unique wildlife refuge” and is full of things to do and see. The roads, trails, and boat ramps within the refuge are open daily from sunrise to sunset and the Visitor Information Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 4pm.

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