November 2, 2006
The entrance to Lettuce Lake Park is in Temple Terrace, on 6920 E Fletcher Ave. Shallow Lettuce Lake which gave the name to the park is actually an old bay of the Hillsborough River. The lake in turn is named after a small floating plant called Water Lettuce.The most prominent feature of the park is not the lake but a four story Observation Tower that overlooks the Hillsborough River and hardwood swamp. The boardwalks running along the river will lead you to the tower. The Hillsborough River view from the top of the top is stunning. I would recommend climbing the tower during different seasons – it is always rewarding. Both tower and boardwalk provide great opportunity for bird watching (falcon, white ibis, osprey, hawk) – bring you camera. The park is often crowded on weekends. Come here early in the morning if you can; this is the best time for viewing wildlife in the park - a few visitors and the birds are actively feeding.
Numerous signs on the boardwalk will help you to recognize wildlife. The boardwalk divided in three sections marked by the colors – Green, Blue and Yellow. Colored foot markers have been used to locate some points of interest. If you want to learn more about local wildlife than pick up a booklet in the Environment Center – it will guide you through the amazing area. The park also features paved and off road hiking trails along the river banks, picnic areas, restrooms, playgrounds and the amazing Environmental Education Center called "Arc in the Park" maintained by the Tampa Audubon Society. In the center you will have a rear chance to touch an alligator without being hurt (well, it is made of plastic but still a good photo op). Lettuce Lake Park also offers picnic shelters about 300 yards down river from the Observation Tower.
From journal Tampa Bay Area Parks