Address and Contact Information
Administration and Office:
Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex28950 Watson Blvd.Big Pine Key, FL 33043Phone- firstname.lastname@example.orgHours- by appointment
National Key Deer Refuge179 Key Deer Blvd.Big Pine Key, FL email@example.comOpen 9AM-4PM eastern time Mon-Fri, 10AM-3PM eastern time Weekends (when volunteers available)
Points of Interest
Visitor Center- located on Big Pine Key, this location serves as the visitor center for all four Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges. You’ll find a wealth of information here including where to see the Key deer, ideas about places to get outdoors, upcoming and ongoing events, and exhibits and displays.
Blue Hole Observation Platform- located just a few miles north of the visitor center on Key Deer Blvd, the Blue Hole area provides a great opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to get outdoors and view our native wildlife. Blue Hole was originally a limestone quarry; it is now filled with freshwater, and shaded by native plants. There is a short, paved trail from the paved parking lot to the observation platform, making it accessible to all people. Typical wildlife species include: American alligator, osprey, green herons and other wading birds, anhinga, magnificent frigatebirds, white-crowned pigeon, white-eyed vireo, blue-gray gnatcatcher and many more. Many turtles and fish call the Blue Hole home as well, including some wayward tarpon who got stuck there after the storm surge of Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
Nature Trails- These interpretive trails are located a ¼ mile north of the Blue Hole, on Key Deer Blvd. There are two trails here; the Mannillo Trail, named in honor of Fred Mannillo, a local environmental advocate, is a short out and back trail, composed of crushed limestone. There are two benches located along the trail to relax and enjoy nature and the trail ends at an observation platform that is situated within a freshwater wetland area. The Watson Trail, named for the first Refuge Manager Jack Watson, is a 2/3 mile loop trail through pine rockland, freshwater wetland and hardwood hammock habitat. These trails are located in full sun, so plan your trip accordingly. In summer they are best visited early in the morning and then later in the day, towards sunset.
Know Before You Go
The best place to start your visit is the Visitor Center. It is open daily during the week from 9 AM. to 4 PM, and 10 AM -3 PM on weekends. The Visitor Center is accessible to all, and staffed with volunteers and refuge personnel who can answer questions and provide information. The Visitor Center is also home to our Friends nature store, filled with nature-oriented books and gifts. Proceeds directly benefit the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges.
Help Keep Wildlife Wild- Do not feed key deer, alligators or other wildlife; it habituates them to people, leading to potentially dangerous situations for people and wildlife.
Follow Us Online
Key deer are unique to the lower Florida Keys. They are perfectly adapted to living in the wild, they may, however, approach people looking for handouts; please help us keep them healthy and wild by not feeding them.
Call FWC Dispatch to report a dead or seriously injured key deer at