Families can enjoy the outdoors this Memorial Day | Environment
The upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend is a perfect time for friends and family to take advantage of 20,000 acres of Pinellas County parks and Florida landscapes.
Pinellas County operates three large beach parks on the Gulf of Mexico. Fort De Soto Park, located in the south end of the county, is one of the largest county parks in the state of Florida, with more than seven miles of shoreline. In central Pinellas County, Sand Key Park has almost a half mile of beachfront. Fred Howard Park is located in the northern part of the county in Tarpon Springs.
All county parks provide parking, restroom facilities and drinking fountains and are open daily from 7 a.m. to sunset. The daily parking fee for beach parking is $5 per vehicle and boat ramp daily parking fee is $6 for a vehicle and trailer. Pay stations, available on site, accept cash, coins and credit cards. Annual permits are available.
On Saturday, May 26, both Brooker Creek Preserve and Weedon Island Preserve have scheduled free guided hikes suitable for ages 6 and older. From 9 to 10:30 a.m., Brooker Creek visitors will see how the land has changed over time and examine the ecological footprints left by those changes.
Visitors will learn how the early Weedon Island residents lived while hiking through mangrove forests. The Weedon Island hike, from 9 to 11 a.m., will take visitors through the coastal uplands and along the boardwalks through mangrove forests. Advance registrations are required for both hikes.
There will also be a photography hike from 8 to 10 a.m. at Weedon Island Preserve on May 26, which is an opportunity for adult photographers to hone their skills. After a classroom session highlighting specific wildlife behaviors and focus tips, guides will assist participants in capturing the natural beauty outdoors. The program is free and advance registration is required.
Brooker Creek Preserve is located at 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. For information, visit www.brookercreekpreserve.org or call (727) 453-6800. Weedon Island Preserve is located at 1800 Weedon Drive N.E., St. Petersburg. For information, visit www.weedonislandpreserve.org or call (727) 453-6500. For more information on beach parking fees, visit www.pinellascounty.org/park/parkingfees.htm or call (727) 582-2100.
Videos highlighting Pinellas County parks and preserves may be viewed at www.youtube,com/pcctv1. For more information on Pinellas County services and programs, visit www.pinellascounty.org, now with LiveChat, or create a shortcut to www.pinellascounty.org/mobile on any smartphone. Pinellas County government is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.