Making our way south along Florida’s Gulf Coast we made our way through St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay and ended up in the Everglades battling the massive mosquitoes. Here’s some of the fun we had along the way.
Started in the 1920’s by a plumber with a passion for gardening, this dried out lakebed is now a maze of meandering paths taking you through a plethora of exotic plant species. The city of St Petersburg now operates the 4 acre gardens, but for many years it was a family run business keeping the passion of past generations alive. If plants aren’t your thing they do have some animals on site including kookaburras, flamingos, macaws, tortoises, koi and a massive alligator snapping turtle. We got a deal on Groupon and entered the gardens for $6 per person. It was a deal and well worth it!
A fossilized reef out in the Gulf of Mexico contains millions of fossilized shark teeth from multiple species of shark, some extinct and some that are still around today. These teeth are washed free from their limestone confines and wash up on shore. You are free to visit and search for these teeth while you enjoy the sun and warm waters of the gulf. We found that while the water was warm and the sun was so inviting, it’s near impossible to find the teeth without some “specialized tools”. The specialized tools are sieves that look a bit like poop scoopers. With these and a few hours on our second attempt we found more teeth than we ever thought we would! (you can rent the sieves from the bait shop on the Venice pier for $7 a day!).
This is a 15 mile loop where you can pay $25 a person to ride a tram and get a little tour, or for just the price of entry you can walk or bike the 15 mile loop on your own as we did. We took our bikes and rode the 15 miles which sounds impressive, but it’s extremely flat terrain and we highly recommend it! On our trip we came across many gators, a few softshell turtles, some great blue herons, a great white heron (a morph of the great blue heron), green herons, anhingas, cormorants, and many many more. The ride was smooth and extremely flat which would’ve made for a great relaxing ride if it weren’t for a wicked headwind on the 8 mile stretch back to the visitors center from the lookout platform. It was all most definitely worth it! You get to see so much more of the trail and so many more animals than if you walked or even took the tram.
At the end of this we were tired, but ready to take on the Florida Keys as the next leg of our trip.