This weekend we participated in a guided night hike through the Grassy Waters Nature Preserve in western Palm Beach County. WOW, that was cool and only costs $10 per person! Because our guide is a herpetologist, we managed to find lots of frogs, lizards, and snakes.
Not to mention a few white tail deer, lightning bugs (aka fire flies), a shooting star, cool silhouettes of the sunset through the swamp, birds coming in to roost for the evening a variety of other tracks. There are only a few opportunities left to participate, so call up the nature center at Grassy Waters and book your spot soon!
Note: bring PLENTY of bug spray, a good flashlight, and some sturdy boots that you don’t mind getting a little dirty and come ready for some night hiking adventure! Pics below.
As I’m writing this down the irony hits me that I’m writing an article about “Fall Festivals” in Florida; a state that doesn’t really experience fall. In most cases we go from Summer to Spring and then back to summer a few months later. Don’t get me wrong, some parts of the state (particularly in the north) will experience fall. But it’s short lived.
So let’s talk about fall festivals. Great opportunities to get some cute pictures of your family in a pumpkin patch. Then you can pick one out to take home and carve. All the while hoping the bugs and heat don’t get the best of it before Halloween arrives. There’s usually other stuff going on at these events as well, from hay rides, to contests, barbecue, kettle corn, to corn “maizes” to haunted houses and other holiday events. Trust me, there will be enough going on that you’ll stay busy through Christmas.
We visited a great one this past weekend put on by Bedner’s Farms in Boynton Beach, FL. Tons of people and tons of cool stuff to do from a new gem mine to air cannons to hay rides to the petting zoo and more! (pics shown below).
For more details about this and other pumpkin patches around the state, I found a few sites that list a bunch of them!
Fall in North Florida brings a special gift near and dear to my heart (and stomach), the annual shrimp migration into the St. Johns River!
What you need is a cast net, cooler, a little patience, and a full moon doesn’t hurt either! Many folks have different recipes for bait, but my go to is a combination of the cheapest nastiest canned catfood you can get for $1, rock salt, flour, and water. Dump ingredients into an old bowl and kneed by hand or old tablespoon into a funky dough. Find a public dock with a little elbow room and toss a few pinches of your bait dough about 10-20 feet up current, wait a few minutes and toss the castnet over to see who’s hanging out down there. Sometimes it’s a bust, and sometimes it’s an endless buffet! More tips, tricks, and recipes to follow. For up to date info, check out the regional fishing reports Floridasportsman.com
Tucked away amongst the hustle and bustle of modern day southeast Florida is a hidden island that most people zip by. Now owned and operated by Broward County Parks & Recreation Department, Deerfield Island had its biggest claim to fame as the secret hideout for the feared gangster Al Capone (some still call it “Capone Island”). Tucked away in the intracoastal waterway just a few hundred yards north of Hilsboro BLVD in Deerfield Beach, FL the island is only accessible by boat. What’s that? You don’t have a boat? Not to worry, because the county offers free shuttles to and from the island on the hour during the weekends. The island is pretty much uninhabited with the exception of a ranger station and a small clan of raccoon and protected gopher tortoises. Plenty of birds stop by for some peace and quiet as well. There are clean restrooms, picnic pavilions and even a few sand volleyball courts available for your enjoyment. We enjoy visiting the island on a lazy sunday afternoon for hiking, photography, and it’s one of the few places in southeast FL where you can truly get away from it all without having to venture hours outside the city limits.
I was inspired to post this today by a conversation with colleague of mine who was asking me about stuff to do in the Gainesville area while visiting some of the springs. Knowing that she is an animal lover I recommended one of our favorite places to visit animals; the retirement home for horses in Alachua Florida.
If you have never been to or seen or heard of the retirement home for horses, you are really in for something special. Also known as The Mill Creek Farm, the retirement home for horses accepts animals from all over the country from mounted police horses to performing circus horses to rescues from the Humane Society etc. The horses that come here stay here for the rest of their lives. When their time is up, they’re buried in a special “memorial” field and a tree is planted in their name.
I was hesitant at first because I thought I was going to see some very sad creatures, but in fact it was quite the opposite. I’ve never seen happier creatures before my life. The horses were very appreciative of the spacious paddocks in green pastures and once we even got to see a horse touch grass for the first time (he had lived in confined stalls his whole life).
The Mill Creek Farm is open to the public on Saturdays at 10 a.m. , the price of amission is two carrots, though I recommend bringing two bags… very big bags (they go pretty quickly). Also, you might want to bring a few milk bones because there are a couple retired dogs there that like a treat too. So much so that we’ve even seen them eat some of the carrots brought for the horses so that they wouldn’t feel left out. For more information about the retirement home for horses, their upcoming events or visiting information you can check them out at their website http://millcreekfarm.org