Monday, April 14, 2014

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

As a child this place was home to a lot of my memories. This is where I remember going on library field trips. This is where I pet my first snake and saw my first bee hive. I was not the kid that chased frogs in the mud, but I thought they were cool and pretty much every creepy crawly bug thing I can think of was in a small science center at Boyd Hill. I was excited to be there on Saturday and it had been clearly a long time since I had been in the building itself, because when we went inside, the library was gone. Apparently, it has been gone for 15 years, a true surprise to me. The lovely volunteer behind the counter, though gentle was amused by my dismay. Even though, change is always had, the new and improved all nature center was very well done. They clearly have school come in for programs so there are a couple of classrooms.

We paid $3 for each adult to get in, so for a family of 4 a total of $6 was not bad. This allowed inside the actual nature center to see various displays, touch and play with several areas and have access to the several trail preserves. Inside we got to see and pet a tarantula, see several turtles, frogs and the biggest toad I have ever seen in my entire life.  Outside there was an aviary sanctuary. There were several interesting rare birds to see up close since most were birds of prey. We walked around a couple of the short trails which were perfect for our kids attention spans. Afterwards we walked through the butterfly garden and saw the metal sculpture in the trees which really has been there since I was a child.

The park was full of small kids and families some attending birthday parties since this was a gorgeous Saturday morning. We went to the playground which Vivian was obsessed with and once again I was reminded that it used to be a huge wooden structure that must have over time just fell to pieces. Now it is a traditional strong playground equipment. There is a smaller one near the picnic tables which Lydia declared was the perfect playground. I think because she was able to play on every element without help from me. There is also a little area that has a stage and benches which my girls loved.

The girls loved it and we could have spent all day there running around. Next time we may bring a picnic. There is also a ton of programs the center offers for young children, some during the week and others are for summer camp. The edge of this preserve is right up next to Lake Maggiore, which also has picnic tables and playground space. It is a rich nature corner of the city of St. Petersburg.

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