Month: February 2013
Pinellas County Florida Botanical Gardens
Pinellas County Florida Botanical Gardens is located in Largo Florida. Here you can wander through over 30 acres of cultivated gardens and view the wildlife in the 90 acres that are kept in their natural, wild state.
The cultivated gardens include a herb garden, palm garden, tropical fruit garden, patio garden, butterfly garden, succulent garden, bromeliad garden, native plants garden and a seasonal plantings display area. In addition to that, there is a beautiful wedding garden as well as a tropical courtyard.
Naturally, a botanical garden down here in Florida would not be complete without an aquatic habitat demonstration area with a large retention pond complete with water lilies and alligators. There are also sixty acres that were once used for agriculture and are now being restored to it’s natural state. Volunteers are available to answer your questions throughout the park. There is also a gift shop and an information center where you can bring in plants or soil to receive guidance on your own garden.
Pinellas County Florida Botanical Gardens is adjacent to both the Florida Gulf Coast Center for Fishing (with their interactive museum) and Heritage Village (28 historic structures dating back to the 19th century). This is the perfect destination for the entire family! The botanical gardens are open seven days a week.
Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve North & South – Oldsmar Florida
Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve has two sections: Mobbly Bayou South Support Area and Mobbly Bayou North Support Area. Both of these wonderful waterfront parks are directly on Tampa Bay and both are in Oldsmar Florida. Here you will learn about both.
Mobbly Bayou South Support Area is located at the eastern end of Shore Drive, directly on Tampa Bay. This great park has a beach, picnic shelters and restrooms. It is an extremely popular destination to take the kids for a picnic and romp on the beach of Tampa Bay.
Mobbly Bayou North Support Area is located off Lafayette Blvd in Oldsmar. There is a great kayak launch area in this park. From here you can travel east in your kayak to the Upper Tampa Bay Park and return on the scenic route via Mullet Creek. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the mangroves and birds along our coastline. This park is also popular with those who enjoy fishing from the shoreline. Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve North Support Area also has picnic shelters and restroom facilities as well as a large playground for the kids.
Oldsmar Florida is growing! Convenient to both Tampa and the Gulf Beaches, it has great schools and is close to top rated medical facilities.
R.E. Olds Park – Oldsmar Florida
R. E. Olds Park in Oldsmar Florida was named after Ransom E. Olds, who was the founder of Oldsmobile and REO cars. In 1913 R.E. Olds purchased 37,541 acres of land on the northern shores of Tampa Bay and named the area “R.E. Olds-on-the-Bay”. The area became known as Oldsmar in 1937, when the town’s name was officially changed.
Back when Olds built the city, there were no bridges across Tampa Bay. The only way from Tampa to St Petersburg was to come through Oldsmar. Olds had many plans for the town, including a banana plantation, horse track and a casino with a major hotel. Tampa Bay Downs has become a major attraction, bringing tourists and their horses down to Oldsmar during the winter months. It is the only Thoroughbred race track on Florida’s West Coast and is one of America’s oldest race tracks.
Today R.E. Olds Park is frequented throughout the week since it offers hiking trails directly on Tampa Bay, a great fishing pier, several playgrounds, sand volleyball area, fitness equipment, restrooms, an open amphitheater, picnic shelters and fantastic views of Tampa Bay. From the shores of R.E. Olds Park you can see Philippi Park across the bay over in Safety Harbor.
R.E. Olds Park is one of several great parks located in the town of Oldsmar Florida. Convenient to both Tampa and the Gulf Beaches, the town of Oldsmar is growing. Here you will find excellent public schools and lovely communities.
Wall Springs Park – Palm Harbor Florida
Wall Springs Park is located right on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico in beautiful Palm Harbor Florida. Wall Springs Park is a natural spring that was once a bathing and spa area for wealthy northerners. Charles Wall purchased the property in 1884 and it was used as a spa retreat until the 1960’s. Pinellas County began purchasing the property with the goal of making a large park and today the park comprises 210 acres.
Wall Springs Park, located between Crystal Beach and Tarpon Springs, is a favorite destination of locals. Accessible from the Pinellas Trail as well as by car, this great county park offers five picnic and grill shelters that can be reserved for parties. In addition to the shelters, there are restroom facilities, wonderful nature trails, boardwalks, an observation tower, fishing piers, playground, butterfly garden and a historical area explaining about the history of the park. If you are planning on fishing in the park, remember that here in Florida you must have a fishing license, even if fishing from shore.
The spring in the center of the park comes from the Upper Florida Aquifer. The average water flow from the spring is 2,917 gallons of water per minute and the spring’s temperature is a pretty constant 74 degrees. Swimming is no longer allowed in the spring and neither is fishing. Here you can see not only some of the largest mullet you will ever encounter, but also snook, redfish, sheephead, needlefish, white bait and of course otter and a wide variety of tropical birds. The fish seem to know that as long as they are in the main spring area, they are safe from fishermen. Naturally, since the spring and Boggy Bayou are connected you have a great chance of catching plenty of fish from the park’s fishing docks that are on Boggy Bayou.
We are indeed lucky to have Wall Springs Park here in Palm Harbor Florida. It is a popular family destination for all who live in the area.
Weedon Island Preserve – St Petersburg Florida
Weedon Island Preserve is a 3,190 acre natural area on the eastern shores of St Petersburg Florida. Located directly on Tampa Bay, Weedon Island Preserve is owned by the State of Florida and maintained by Pinellas County. The preserve itself is open to the public seven days a week from 7 am to dusk, with the exceptions of the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Those are the only two days during the entire year that the preserve is closed.
Here you will find miles of hiking trails. Part of the trails have boardwalks which make those sections accessible to wheelchairs. There is also a great 45 foot high observation tower, perfect for great photos and bird watching. When you visit Weedon Island Preserve, you want to remember to bring bottled water and shoes with closed toes. The trails wonder through mangroves and some of them take you out to Tampa Bay.
If kayaking is your pleasure, there is a fantastic kayak launch in Weedon Island Preserve but plan on getting there early since the parking area by the kayak launch fills up early. There are also restrooms and water facilities by the kayak launch, as well as at the education center. The education center has a large parking area and offers workshops as well as educational programs for the community and local schools. Six thousand square feet of exhibits await you at the education center. Here you will be able to view artifacts left by those who inhabited Weedon Island Preserve as far back as 1800 years ago! The three story educational center was designed with the assistance of Native Americans, in following with their traditions. When planning a visit to the education center, remember that the center is only open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 am to 4 pm.