This property, on which Bonnet House stands, began as a sand bar shaped into linear ridges by ocean currents and wind action along the seashore. It extends in a north-south position parallel to the South Florida coastline and serves as a barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway to protect the mainland. The Bonnet House Estate and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park are the only significant remnants of the coastal wilderness in Broward County.
The trees on either side of the bridge are mangrove trees. They are part of a valuable ecosystem for various species of animals and aquatic life. Some of the creatures that live in the mangroves are the fiddler crab, mangrove crab, many types of fish, clams, and oysters. Mangrove communities actually support 75% of our game fish. About 181 bird species use mangrove swamps for food, shelter, or breeding grounds.
The water here is brackish – meaning part fresh and part salty. Mangrove trees have the unique ability to thrive directly in and near brackish water. Bonnet House is home to three species of mangroves, namely red, black and white.
At the end of the bridge you will see a hill rising before you. This hill is a secondary dune with an elevation of fourteen feet above sea level which is as high as it gets in this area. The path forward will take you to the Museum Shop where you will find a light lunch, snacks and a restroom facility. To continue your tour of the grounds, turn right and proceed along Melaleuca Drive towards the sign reading Tours with a left pointing arrow.