Tuscawilla Preserve and Sensory Garden

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Tuscawilla Preserve and Sensory Garden a 90-acre preserve adjacent to The Museum of Arts and Sciences. Take a walk on one of the three trails throughout the preserve first stopping to admire the fountain and the bronze-sculpted Great Blue Heron by Florida artist Paul Baliker and the native plants that surround it.

Walk under the wooden trestle to the boardwalk and see if you can spot a Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. Sit on a bench in the Discovery Station enjoying the scenery on the pond or participate in one of the interactive learning stations. An abundance of Spanish moss and cabbage palm along the nature trail. I recommend the preserve; its free and included in the price of the museum.

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Princess Place Preserve

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Princess Place Preserve located at 2500 Princess Place Road in Palm Coast. Drive along a two-lane dirt road crossing a covered bridge stopping for horses along the road. Bring a fishing pole and fish on the dock or relax on a bench. Bring a pair of binoculars on a clear day you can see the bridge that crosses to A1A and see Marineland. Hike one of the four trails or canoe on Pellicer Creek that flows into Matanzas Inlet. Sit under a canopy of trees, have a picnic feel the breeze while overlooking the water.

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PICT0473In the late 1880s, a hunting lodge built on the 1500-acre property. The lodge, the servants’ quarters that is now the park ranger’s office, livery stable, bathhouse and the first in-ground swimming pool all adjacent buildings. The pool table in the main hall include photographs of Princess Scherbatow, the owner to famous guests at the lodge. Going from room to room, the park ranger gave a thorough account of each room from donated pieces to family owned pieces. Original Hard Pine floors to a fireplace with original tiles and mirrors.

PICT0498PICT0454Cedar Trees, Palm Trees, Vines and the Southern Magnolia named for Pierre Magnol a French Botanist. Free entrance to the park, hours of operation on the website. Free tours of the lodge; I recommend the tour; the park ranger is very knowledgeable.

 

Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve

central park & environmental center 117Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve located at 8777 C.R. 535/Winter Garden-Vineland Road in Windermere. The Vera Carter Environmental Center located in the preserve named after Vera Carter an Orange County Commissioner instrumental in preserving the environment.

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Interactive Exhibits inside the Center include a light-up map that highlights the eleven lakes that makeup the Butler Chain of Lakes. A lightning exhibit that shows the effects of lightning in the cypress dome in the dry season. A Green Horned Owl found in the Wild Wetlands of North and South America, a Great Egret, Red Shouldered Hawk and a Snapping Turtle exhibited.

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central park & environmental center 152Walk on the sandy trail that surrounds the flower and butterfly gardens. Sit on a bench and relax in the peaceful surroundings. Listen to the song of the Tufted Titmouse a small gray songbird. Birdfeeders in the garden attract different species of birds. The employee working in the garden said that the two tortoises come out of the burrows any time of day. A Blue Porterweed a perennial that attracts butterflies and the fruits of the host plant a Purple Passion Flower/Vine eaten by the Gopher Tortoise.

central park & environmental center 147central park & environmental center 139Hike one of the six trails from a one-half mile to more than a mile. When entering the preserve stop for animals at the crossing. Entrance to the preserve is free, hours of operation on the website.