By far one if the best nature reserves in Florida ! I try to visit weekly for the sunset on the " Wading bird way" trail. After a long work week just to walk out there( bringing along my dslr and wide angle lens of course!) just look out over the banana creek marsh and watch the sun disappear leaving a behind an orange, pink, and yellow painted sky . It is a thing of beauty after all you've seen is people for the past week . A must do if you're just a passer-byer looking to relax and take a stroll or a nature enthusiast looking to study the different species or observe the glory of nature itself.
A local Floridian recommended this fairly new nature reserve to us for hiking and bird-watching. WOW! This is a 1,200 acre reserve on Lake Hancock just south east of Lakeland. You enter the reserve from Winter Lake Road. It's FREE! Plenty of picnic sites. easy parking. Bathrooms...includes a very well done indoor nature discovery center that is open 9-4 Tuesday through Saturday and noon -4 on Sundays. The park itself is open dusk-dawn. There are several fairly well marked trails. A trail guide lists distances and features to help you plan your day. Trails from easy to moderate. No bathrooms on the trails...so be prepared. You will see amazing wildlife, birds, gators and more, Wear good shoes and sunscreen. There are a few benches along the way to rest. Bring water, binoculars, camera. Bike riding is permitted. Strollers can be used. Trails are mostly dirt, quite natural in state. A two-mile walk might take over two hours as you will stop and observe and enjoy the birds, gators, nesting, water, etc. Take your time. The discovery area has several rooms to explore, an indoor climbing tree for the kids, and a fox den to crawl into. There are workshops and monthly activities. We will make this a regular place to visit and enjoy. Great find! FREE
What an absolut great place to visit. There is no entry charge to the reserve and you get to visit a truly magical world. Take your time to walk around the lake and spot the alligators and the many different birds. It will hopefully take your breath away as much as it took ours!
So glad a local couple told us about this place. Excellent walking paths for wildlife viewing. We saw many, many alligators of all sizes as well as several speciies of birds (Great Egret, Great Blues, Red shouldered hawk, Ibis, Anhinga, Osprey), racoons, and a great variety of plant life. A nice interpretive centre, slightly geared to children, but worth the stop, regardless. Plenty of parking (even though it was quite busy on Saturday afternoon), washroom facilities, good map. All of this, and it was free! What a terrific resource. Would definately return.
Circle B is a place that doesn't know what it wants to be. They claim it's a wildlife sanctuary, yet they allow people to ride bikes down the dirt trails. They claim it's a family gathering place, yet they put up signs saying you shouldn't make noise on certain parts of the trail and expect families full of little kids to honor them. They claim it's a place to see nature, yet they close one of their main trails for months out of the year because they're worried about someone getting too close to a gator.They remind me of the quote from North Dallas Forty: "Every time we treat it like a game, you tell us it's a business. Every time we try to treat it like a business, you tell us it's a game."This place doesn't know what it wants to be and thus it's not satisfying as anything.True, it's free, but I think charging admission would make it a better place to visit as it would allow them to hire people instead of using volunteers, which there are never enough of.
Incredible bird viewing.It's free, but well-kept with informative staff and newly-built facilities and easy walking trails.Many species of birds to see - bald eagle, blue heron, etc.Spot the gators sunning themselves and the armadillos along the paths.
Liked everything. not to be missed. Big alligators to see in the wild,many types of birds armadillos,bobcat. Fabulous visitor cent.
We had a great morning wandering around the grounds.We saw a ton of animals, and walked the loop around the marsh. It would be a tad nicer with a few more signs to tell you where you are, got a bit turned around.It would have been cool to see the bobcats, but not this morning.The bald eagles were awesome to see and several herons were super close. The armadillos were cute too.A wonderful place to spend some time. Go early before it gets too hot if you are doing the loop. Not much shade.
Depending on the time of year, there are a multitude of birds to be seen. Of course the alligators in Lake Hancock are always there. At times the trail along the lake is closed because of alligator mating season and females with hatchlings. It is a wonderful place just to meander under the trees or out in the prairie. Be sure to look for the eagles.
We went here on the advice of friends. Within 20 minutes we saw an armadillo, Red tail hawk, Bald eagle, and lots of alligators. We took a 45 minute walk along "Shady Oak" to "Alligator Alley". Saw at least a dozen different birds, raccoons, and so on. There were a lot of people, but very respectful of the surroundings.