Typical view [?]
NOTE: I think mosquittos are controlled this close to the city
LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Very impressive river boardwalks here and less but still impressive paved forest trails.
The boardwalks are maybe the best place known to see wading birds. Spoon bills especially - they often doing their left-right feeding dance close up and roost in cypress trees near the wood tower on the boardwalk. Night herons often sit on the boardwalk railing. You can often hear and see Carolina wren on the forest trails and not the best chances but descent chances of spotting warblers in mixed flocks coming through. Twice I've been approached by turkeys at shelters here.
Fairly good chance of a close up encounter with armadillo. Around 10/2018 we saw an inquisitive river otter to the right of the tower maybe 50 feet. I'd believe it if deer were somewhere in the woods surrounding this.
Small nature center, lots of BBQ shelters, paved path - a fantastic place to see nature if you were disabled I'd expect. The boardwalks are very effective at getting you into the cypresses around the river.
When you enter you go to the back and either turn left to enter the boardwalk to the boardwalks by the nature center (it's pretty small but has bathrooms etc). If you turn right and go to the back you see the shelters and the paved path is in the far left corner.
It's probably a couple hours to do trails and boardwalks. You can get to interesting parts of the boardwalk pretty quickly if you want to stop briefly. There's a fee to get in. The website says $2 but I thought it went up.
This is a pretty great park for having a high change of interesting encounters with wildlife or wading birds - in or out of a city. It's basically two things. An oak forest that's not terribly tall or old on the right and some great boardwalks on the left that overlook the river where the river is not it's typical self - it gets wide and winds a lot and the cypress are very tall here. Also the river is wide and shallow at the edges enough that wading birds actually have space to land and be watched. It's connected to a lot of wilderness - it goes up through Hillsborough river state park and judging by satellite photos maybe even towards the green swamp. So that's a lot of room for wildlife diversity to develop and land right into the edge of Tampa.
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