History and Nature Side by Side
Once considered the largest wading bird rookery in South Florida in the 1800s, this former 15 acre island in the lagoon was a destination in the early 1900s for wealthy Northerners to visit the Hotel Hygeia where they would drink "Dr. Munyon's Paw-Paw Elixir" and recuperate from their ailments. In the 1930s and 1960s, the island grew 45 acres from stockpiled dregde materials from the Intracoastal Waterway. In the 1990s, ERM lowered the island's elevation in the lagoon, created tidal channels and ponds, and restored habitats to 20 acres of mangrove and salt marsh grasses, 23 acres of maritime hammock, and 9 acres of seagrass.
Part of the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, the island is managed by the Florida Park Service. Bring your kayak or rent one at the gift shop to paddle the lagoon and visit this historical island once called "Nuctsachoo" or Pelican Island by the Seminole Indians.
Take a step back in time!
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