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Wekiwa Springs State Park - Part I
I had remembered reading an article that advised a visit to Wekiwa Springs for anybody visiting the Orlando area who wished to see a piece of unspoilt Florida.
So on one of our recent visits my wife and I decided to do just that.
We found the entrance to the park, which is perhaps unsurprisingly on Wekiwa Springs Road, quite easily using the directions given on the park’s website. Having paid our $5 entrance fee at the Ranger Station, and been given a leaflet and map, we drove down to the far end of the long car parking area and found some shade to park our car under. This spot was also handy for one of the picnic areas, which we planned to use for our lunch.
We decided to first have a look at the spring itself and then explore the Wet to Dry Nature Trail, which was detailed on the park map. We headed down toward the spring, thankful for some shade from the pines and oak trees, and then emerged onto a grassy slope, popular later in the day with swimmers and sunbathers, which led to the edge of the spring. Parts of the banks have been concreted to prevent erosion, although access to the waters was available from steps at either side of the spring.
We strolled around the perimeter of the spring and then took the nature trail. The elevated wooden boardwalk started at the edge of the spring and wound through ancient Florida swampland before climbing (only gently) to the sandier slopes of the park’s hillside. Along the way we were treated to sights of a variety of colourful butterflies, damsel and dragon flies and even a small golden headed lizard or maybe gecko.
When we arrived back at the concession area we found that the small natural history museum had opened. The museum mostly exhibited arrow heads and bones of creatures found in the area together with an array of stuffed animals and birds including fox, brown bear lynx and owls, all of which had died naturally in the park. There were also a couple of tanks with live snakes and tortoises – again native to the park. While we were talking to the volunteer curator she suggested that we hire a canoe for the afternoon, something that I had earlier tried to convince my wife we should try. The support of the curator and some more cajoling over lunch finally convinced her.
Please read part two of our day at Wekiwa Springs to see how we got on!
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