The 50-acre Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach and the 100-acre Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach are two of the most beautiful water utility properties ever developed. I visited both on my recent trip to Florida.

Every day, 2 million gallons of treated waste water is filtered through Wakodahatchee and reclaimed for use in southern Palm Beach County. The water is filtered naturally with plants that have always filtered water gently flowing through the nearby Everglades.

Boardwalks meander through both facilities that were jointly developed by the water utility and the parks department.

Wakodahatchee, which is a decade older than Green Cay, has attracted a more diverse population of birds, alligators, turtles and other wildlife.

Wakodahatchee is on Jog Road north of Lake Ida Road. Green Cay is on Hagan Ranch Road south of Flavor Pict Road. Both are free and open dawn to dusk.

Green Cay Wetlands

Green Cay Wetlands nature center

Boardwalk through Green Cay Wetlands

Boardwalk through Green Cay Wetlands

Mom and her three chicks

Anhinga sunning himself after diving for breakfast

Woodstorks at Wakodahatchee fighting over nesting space

Surveying the area

Blue heron fishing

Woodstorks nest in clusters. Several are guarding as many as three chicks in their nests.

Alligator in Wakodahatchee, which is literally only blocks from my aunt’s house. But there’s no way they can get out. At least that’s what people who live in the area keep telling themselves.