August, 2012
Parks and Preserves
A visit to one of Florida's state parks, preserves, or gardens delivers value and renewal. It's a trip where freedom lovers relax and enjoy sun-kissed sandy beaches, historic significance, and Florida's captivating natural serenity.

In  order to read the complete story when it appeared, we've noted in parentheses the month of the archive for your easy reference.

Northwest Florida

The Crystal River Archaeological State Park (January Archive) is located at 3400 North Museum Pointe. The museum ($3 self-pay) is open 9 am-5 pm except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call 352-795-3817 or go to www.FloridaStateParks.org.

Join in the free fun with the Crystal River Boat Builders (February archive) from 8 am-noon Wed. and Sat. at Crystal River Preserve State Park. Call 352-344-5482 or go to www.tsca.net/crbb.

The Crystal River Preserve State Park (January Archive) is a place that puts you in touch with the untouched. Call 352-563-0450 or go to www.dep.state.fl.us.

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Park (February Archive) is open every day of the year and there is no admission charge. Located in Homosassa on Yulee Drive west of U.S. Hwy. 19, twelve miles south of Crystal River. For more information call 352-795-3817 or go to www.FloridaStateParks.org.

At the Florida Caverns State Park (August Archive) in Marianna, tour fees (plus tax) are:  0-2 years of age-free, age 3-12 is $5, 13 + is $8. The last cave tour leaves at 4:30 p. m. Call 850-573-0390 for group reservations;  850-482-9599 for general tours or go to www.floridastateparks.org/floridacaverns.

Morrison Springs (September Archive) in Walton County is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Call 850-892-8108 for more information.


Visit St. Andrews State Park at Panama City Beach. Call 850-233-5140 or go to www.floridastateparks.org.

Camp Helen State Park (July archive) is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway at Panama City Beach. It is open from 8am until sundown, 365 days a year, the cost is $4 per vehicle (maximum 8 per vehicle). $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers. Call 850-233-5059 for information or go to www.FloridaStateParks.org/CampHelen.

The Fort Barrancas Area  (August story) is on Taylor Road approximately a half mile east from the Museum of Naval Aviation on Pensacola Bay.  This area includes the historic Water Battery, Fort Barrancas, trails, a visitor center, picnic areas, and the Advanced Redoubt. Scheduled tours of Fort Barrancas are daily at 2 pm and at the Advanced Redoubt (on Pensacola Naval Air Station) every Saturday at 11am. Fort Barrancas and the visitor center is open March-October from  9:30 am to 4:45 pm and November-February from 8:30 am to 3:45 pm. Call 850-455-5167 for more information or go to www.nps.gov/FortBarrancas.  

Visit Fort Pickens (August story)--part of Gulf Islands National Seashore-- at Pensacola Bay. The grounds are open 7 am to 10 pm daily. The Visitor Center has seasonal hours: March-October from 9:30am-5pm and November-February from 8:30 am-4 pm.There are 200 campsites and one group tent site. Note that Fort Pickens road is subject to flooding. Call 850-934-2656 or go to www.nps.gov/FortPickens.

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park for historical and ecological tours and entertainment. Go to www.FloridaStateParks.org.

Eden Gardens State Park (July archive) is located at 181 Gardens Road at Santa Rose Beach. Hours for the grounds, gardens and picnic area (available at the old mill site) are 8am-sunset, 365 days a year.  Admission is $4 per vehicle; $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists. The hourly House Tour is from 10am-3pm, Thur-Mon and is $4-adults, and $2-children. Complimentary trail guides are available for the Garden Trail which winds around the edge of the property and highlights the rose garden, butterfly garden, camellia garden and Tucker Bayou. The park's pavilion and designated areas of the grounds are available to rent. For more information, call 840-267-8320 or go to www.FloridaStateParks.org/EdenGardens.

The 538-acre Weeki Wachee Springs State Park (January Archive) is located at 6131 Commercial Way in Weeki Wachee. Open daily. Check for updated times and events. Admission: adults-$13; Ages 6-12 costs $8; Free for children 5 and under. Call 352-592-5656 or go to www.weekiwachee.com or www.dep.state.fl.us.

The Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park (March Archive) is located six miles east of Woodville, off State Road 363 on Natural Bridge Road. Call 850-922-6007 or go to www.dep.state.fl.us.

Northeast Florida

Fort Clinch State Park's 1100 acres include the 19th-century Fort Clinch, sand dunes, plains, maritime hammock and estuarine tidal marsh on a peninsula near the northernmost point of Amelia island, Go to www.FloridaStateParks.org/FortClinch or call 904-277-7274.

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (January Archive) is located at 829 Riverside in Jacksonville. Hours are Tuesdays: 10 am- 9 pm; Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays: 10 am – 4pm; Saturdays: 10 am-5 pm; Sundays: Noon – 5 pm. Admission: Adults-$10; Seniors and students-$6;Free for ages 0-5. FREE on Tuesdays from 4-9 pm. The museum and gardens are fully wheelchair accessible (wheelchairs are available for visitors at the front desk.) Call 904-356-6857 or go to www.cummer.org.


The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $13.95 Adults (age 13 to 64); $11.95 Seniors (age 64+); $8.95-Children (3 to 12); and free for children age 2 and under. Go to www.jacksonvillezoo.org or call 904-757-4463.


The Alligator Farm (August Archive) is located at 999 Anastasia Blvd. in St. Augustine. It’s open everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.—with extended summer hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fees: Adults-$21.95, and for children age 3-11 it’s $10.95. Call 904-824-3337 or go to www.alligatorfarm.com.


At John F. Kennedy Space Center (September Archive) admission (plus tax) is $43 for adults, and $33 for kids (ages 3-11). It includes the KSC tour and all Visitor Complex exhibits, shows and movies, plus the Shuttle Launch Experience® and  the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®.  Call 877-313-2610 or go to www.kennedyspacecenter.com.

 Central Florida

Giraffe Ranch is located at 38650 Mickler Road in Dade City. Farm tours (specializing in upland species) are 1-1 ½ hr: $59.99-adults, $54.99-seniors, $49.99-children 2-11 years old, and free for children under 2. Other options are available: Camel safaris, lemur feeding, rhino encounter and budgie feeding. Reservations can only be taken by phone. Call 813-482-3400 or go to www.girafferanch.com.

Safari Wilderness  (July archive) is located at 10850 Moore Road in Lakeland (off exit 38 of I-4). Specializing in wetland species. Hours are 9am to 5pm. Vehicle safaris (2 ½ hr): $70-adults, $65-seniors, and $60 for children under 12. Or choose optional safaris: horse-drawn carriage, llamas, or camels. Other extras: $20 short camel ride, $10 short horse or llama ride, $20 lemur hand feeding; $5 stick budgie hand feeding. Reservations are a must and only taken by phone. Mention FlaTrips.com or check their website for a special discount. Call 813-382-2120 or go to www.safariwilderness.com.
Bok Tower Gardens is located at 1151 Tower Boulevard, Lake Wales. Go to www.Boktowergardens.org or call 863-676-1408 for more information.

Leu Gardens (September Archive) in Orlando is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Christmas day. Last Garden admission at 4:00 pm. Admission is $7 for adults and $2 for children (K-12).  Free admission (excluding tour groups) on the first Monday of every month 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Go to www.leugardens.org or call 407-246-2620 for more information.

Highlands Hammock State Park (December Archive) is located at 5931 Hammock Road in Sebring. Concert admission is $5 per person (free for accompanied children 12 and under) Park entrance fee of $6 per car is waived after 6 p.m. on concert nights.) Call 941-386-6094 or go to www.floridastateparks.org/highlandshammock

LEGOLAND, (February Archive) a family theme park, is located in Winter Haven. A day ticket for adults is $75; for children 12 and under, and seniors over 60 it’s $65, and there are online discounts (don’t forget the additional cost of $12 parking.) They are open 5 days a week, closing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but open 7 days during specific holidays. Go to www.Legoland.com or call 877-350-LEGO.

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens (December Archive) is located at 633 Osceola Avenue in Winter Park. Hours are 10 am-4 pm on Tuesday-Saturday and 1-4 pm on Sundays. Call in advance to confirm dates and times. Admission includes entry into all galleries, a guided tour at posted times of the historic Polasek residence, chapel, and entrance to the gardens: Adults-$5; Seniors (60+)-$4; Students age 12 through college - $3; Free for children under age 12. Call 407-647-6294 or go to www.polasek.org.


(West) Central Florida
When Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto came ashore here in 1539 he was probably looking for treasure. Fort De Soto Park in south St. Petersburg is a real gem. Go to www.pinellascounty.org or call 727-582-2267.

The Florida Aquarium (August story) is located at 701 Channelside Drive in Tampa. Nearby parking is $6. Admission is $21.95-adults, $18.95-Seniors 60+; $16.95 for children under 12; and free for children 2 and under. Check online for discounts and savings. Open daily 9:30 am – 5 pm. Call 813-273-4000 or go to www.flaquarium.org.


Southwest Florida

From I 75, exit 123 (Corkscrew Road) go west. The Koreshan State Park (February Archive) is on right immediately after crossing SR 41 in Bonita Springs. For more information call 239-992-0311 or go to www.floridastateparks.org.

De Soto National Memorial (August story) is located at 8300  De Soto Memorial Highway in Bradenton.  Open daily from 9 am-5 pm, there is no admission charge. For more information, call 941-792-0458 or go to www.nps.gov/deso.

Admission to Emerson Point Preserve (September Archive) on Snead Island in (Bradenton) Manatee County is free and hours are sunrise to sunset. Call 941-721-6885 or go to  www.mymanatee.org.


At the Burroughs Home & Gardens (August Archive) in Fort Myers, tours are $10; with lunch included, the cost is $20. Go to www.burroughshome.com; call 239-337-0706 or email Christine@BurroughsHome.com.


Visitors to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers are treated to 20 acres of historic buildings, gardens, the Edison Botanic Research Lab and the Estates Museum. For more information call 239-334-7419 or visit www.efwefla.org

Conservancy of Southwest Florida's Nature Center is located at 1450 Merrihue Dr. in Naples. No on-site parking. Free parking at the Colonial Square complex. Go to www.conservancy.org.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (May Archiveis located at the end of Sanctuary Road West, north of Immokalee Road (County Road 846), approximately 15 miles east of Naples, Exit 111 on I-75. Go to www.corkscrew.audubon.org or call 239-348-9151.

Naples Botanical Garden  (April archive) is located at 4820 Bayshore Drive in Naples. Open daily from 9am-5pm. Admission: Adults-$12.95; children age 4-14 -$ 7.95; free for those 3 and under. For a complete view of activities go to www.naplesgarden.com or call 239-643-7275.  

Palm Cottage and The Norris Gardens (January Archive) is located at 137 12th Avenue South in Naples (one block east of the Naples Pier). Free Parking at Broad Avenue Garage (between 3rd & 2nd St). Tours of Palm Cottage (Tue-Thur, year-round, 1-4 pm-$10); Tours of The Norris Gardens (1st & 3rd Thursday each month, year round, at 10 am-$10. Call 239-261-8164 or go to www.NaplesHistoricalSociety.org.


The Rookery Bay and Ten Thousand Islands'  ecosystems are prime examples of a nearly pristine subtropical mangrove forested estuary. See monthly special events at www.conservancy.org or call 239-262-0304.

Historic Spanish Point at Osprey is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.Mon-Sat; and noon-5 p.m. on Sun. Admission is $10-adults; $9-seniors 65+; $5-kids 5-12; free for kids under 5. Call 941-966-5214 or go to www.historicspanishpoint.org.


Call 800-500-5583 for more information about Babcock Ranch Eco Tour (October Archive) located at 8000 State Road 31 in Punta Gorda, or go to www.babcockwilderness.com.

Crowley Nature Center and Museum (July archive) is located at 16405 Myakka Road in Sarasota. Hours are Thursday-Sunday from 10am to sundown. Admission: seniors-$4.50, adults-$6.50, children-$2 and free for those under 5. Call 941-322-1000 or go to www.CrowleyFl.org.

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is located at 811 South Palm Avenue in Sarasota. It's open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily except Christmas Day. Adults -$17; children 6-11-$6; members free. Go to www.selby.org or phone 941-366-5731 for more information.

Myakka River State Park (March Archive) is located at 13208 SR 72 east of Sarasota. It is open every day from 8 a.m. until sunset. Call 941-361-65 11 or go to www.FloridaStateParks.org/MyakkaRiver, or www.MyakkaRiver.org.

The John and Maple Ringling Museum of Art (May archive)is located at 5401 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota. Allow 3 hours minimum. Hours: Grounds open daily 9:30-6pm. Museum open daily 10-5pm and Thursday 5-8pm. Guided tours depart daily on the hour from 11am-4pm. Cost (also includes Ca’ d’Zan, The Circus Museum and Tibbals Learning Center) $25; $20-ages 65+; $15(ages 6-17 and active military, college students and Florida teachers with ID). Call 941-359-5700 (recorded info); 941-358-3180 (advanced ticket info) or go to www.Ringling.org.


Southeast Florida

The Ancient Spanish Monastery Cloisters (Church of St. Bernard de Clairvaux) and Gardens are open for self-guided tours from Mon-Sat from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Call the Gift Shop at 305-945-1461 before your visit, as they close to tourists during regular business hours for special events. 

The Barnacle Historic State Park (July archive) is located at 3485 Main Highway in Coconut Grove. The Park is open Friday-Monday from 9am-5pm with tours at 10, 11:30am, 1, and 2:30 pm. Admission is $2 per person (honor box-correct change required.) Interpretive exhibits, picnic tables, and ADA-accessible restrooms are available. Museum tour fee is $3-adult, $1-child ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and younger. Pets permitted on park grounds, but not inside historic buildings, nor at special events, including the Moonlight Concert Series. Call 305-422-6866 or go to www.floridastateparks.org/barnacle.

In Coral Gables, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission: Adults- $25; Seniors (65+) - $18; Children 6-17 is $12; Free entrance for children under age 5 and Fairchild members. Go to www.fairchildgarden.org or call 305-667-1651.

The Morikami Museum and Gardens is located at 4000 Morikami Park Road in Delray. Open Tue-Sat from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., admission is $12 for adults; $11 for seniors; $7 for children age 6-17, and free for those under age 5. Call 561-495-0233 or go to www.morikami.org.

At Deerfield island Park (November Archive)volunteer-led bird walks for ages 6 and older run 8:30 to 10 a.m. on first Saturday of the month, October through May. Participants must be at the dock at Sullivan Park by 9 a.m. to catch the boat shuttle to the island ($3 per person.) Intracoastal History Tours are offered October through April on the Fourth Sunday of the Month from 10 to 11:30 a.m.--for ages 6 and up. Be at the dock  by 9:30 a.m. ($5 per person.) Call 954-357-5100 or go to www.broward.org/parks/deerfieldislandpark.

Zoo Miami (August story) is located at 1 Zoo Boulevard (12400 SW 152 Street). Call 305-251-0400 or go to www.zoomiami.org

Miami-Dade’s Crandon Park (May archive) is located at 6747 Crandon Boulevard and is reached via the Rickenbacker Causeway over Biscayne Bay-toll $1.50. Hours are 8 am to sunset. Cost is $5 per private vehicle (weekdays); $6 per vehicle (weekends and holidays); $15 per bus or RV(every day). Go to www.miamidade.gov/parks or call 305-361-5421.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park (September Archive) is located at Mile Marker 102.5 Overseas Highway in Key Largo. Hours are 8-sunset  daily. Call 305-451-1212 or go to www.Floridastateparks.org.

The Audubon House and Tropical Gardens (March Archive) is located at 205 Whitehead Street in Key West. Tour hours are 9:30 am to 4:30 pm daily. Admission fees: adults-$12, students-$7.50; $5 for children ages 6-12; those under 6 are admitted free. Call 877-294-2470 or 305-294-2116 or go to www.AudubonHouse.org.

The Fruit & Spice Park is the only tropical botanical garden of its kind in the United States. This unique 37-acre facility is owned and operated by the Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Department. For more information, go to http://www.fruitandspicepark.org or call 305-247-5727.

The Oleta River State Park (July archive) is located at 3400 NE 163rd Street, off I-95 in North Miami. Admission is $6 per vehicle with 2-8 people; $4 for single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle; $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, and extra passengers. The park is open from 8am until sundown, 365 days a year. Call 305-919-1844 for more information or go to www.FloridaState Parks.org/Oleta.


Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (August Archive) is located at 3251 South Miami Avenue in Miami. Admission is $15-adults; $10 for seniors 65+ with ID, students with ID, and visitors using wheelchairs; $6-children age 6-12; and free for children 5 and under. Vizcaya is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except Tuesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Call 305-250-9133 or go to www.vizcayamuseum.org.


McKee Botanical Garden (October Archive) 350 US Highway 1— is at the southern gateway of Vero Beach. The café is closed during July-October. McKee Botanical Garden is wheelchair accessible (first-come, first-serve--call 772-794-0601 ext. 108 to reserve.) Go to www.mckeegarden.org.


Publisher: Lisa Loucks-Christenson (800) 928-2372 toll free . Email: Lisa@Flatrips.com

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