Everglades National Park protects 1.5 million acres of swampland throughout Broward, Dade and Monroe Counties. The ever-expanding population continues to threaten this fragile ecosystem, but nearly a thousand species of birds, mammals and plants can be found throughout the park. The Ernest Coe Visitor Center, on State Road 9336 near Homestead, is the main entrance. The Flamingo Visitor Center along Florida Bay, the Shark Valley Visitor Center along the Tamiami Trail and the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in sleepy Everglades City in Collier County have various exhibits and access to trails that lead into the park's more remote areas. Seem like too much work? The gay-friendly Island Queen Cruises offers tours for those who want to experience the Everglades from a climate-controlled bus.