The preserve is in Pinellas County, about 15 miles from where we are staying. It is an 8,700-acre area with forested wetlands and pine flatwoods that protect a large part of the Brooker Creek Watershed. There are five miles of hiking on two trails and nine miles of equestrian trails.
When we drove into the preserve to park, we saw a sign, "No Pets." Darn, I did not see that on their website (www.brookercreekpreserve.org). John walked Sadie in the parking lot while I checked out the Environment Education Center (since we were there!).
But first we saw this bat house and gopher tortoise at a picnic shelter next to the parking area.
A boardwalk (about 700') leads to the education center.
There are exhibits, indoor and outdoor classrooms, and a 200 seat auditorium here, as well as a gift shop. Below are: Red-Shouldered Hawk and Ruby Throated Hummingbird; Bobcat; Roseate Spoonbill; and, Coyote, all of which can be found in the preserve.
There are lots of other displays to enjoy here. Because our doggy, Sadie, was not permitted anywhere in the preserve we left in search of another place to do some hiking, but this looks like a great place to explore.
A.L. Anderson Park is only about 6 miles from Brooker Creek Preserve, so we drove there to enjoy our picnic lunch and do some hiking with Sadie.
The park is named for Alphonse L. Anderson, former mayor of Gulfport and Pinellas County Commissioner from 1959-1972. He was a commercial fisherman and conservationist who helped to establish several parks in the county, including this one.
The park overlooks Salmon Bay and Lake Tarpon with an elevated boardwalk along the shoreline of the bay where bald cypress trees grow. There is also a public boat ramp (bass fishing is popular here), picnic shelters and pads, and a nature trail through the wooded area.
As we walked along the boardwalk, Sadie was very interested in the squirrels scampering in the trees. If there is a fence or barrier, she likes to jump up and look over it! She is so nosey.
Cleats for boats to dock can be found along this wall. Benches and swings provide places to relax and enjoy the views of the bay. Shelters can be reserved online, but individual picnic pads can also be found along the water in the park. There's a tiny lending library, too, near the restrooms if you just want to relax and enjoy a book!
As always, we enjoyed spending time outside with Sadie. Pinellas County has many small parks like this, and I am quite sure we will be visiting more of them while we are staying in Lutz.
For additional information about the park, check out this website: www.brookercreekpreserve.org.