The St. Petersburg/Clearwater/Central Florida area is a nature lover’s paradise. Of course, there are the beaches, a definite major attraction. But there is so much more here for the nature lover.
It’s difficult to select a favorite nature experience here — there are so many. In Central Florida in Polk County, for example, you can enjoy the formal gardens of the Bok Tower Gardens, as well as soak up the natural beauty of its Pine Ridge Nature Trail. On the Florida National Scenic Trail, you’ll be able to witness the swampy homeland of bald eagles, red-cockaded woodpeckers, white-tailed deer, and, of course, some of those famous Florida gators--and I'm not talking football.
From state parks such as Kissimmee State Park in Lake Wales, to the bird-watchers paradise of the Audubon Nature Center, you’ll feel good about seeing so much nature at peace.
But, of all of the nature activities, my favorite has to be the Butterfly Conservatory at Cypress Gardens. Here, in this steamy greenhouse, I felt as if I were in a cathedral, surrounded by magnificent creatures so beautiful that I could never really find the words to describe their ethereal ballet. As a photographer, I was truly in heaven as these gentle creatures flew around me, landing, as if they were professional models, in just the right position and lighting.
You could easily spend a couple of days at Cypress Gardens itself because it has everything from exciting action sports to show-stopping entertainment. But, for me, it’s the Butterfly Conservatory that truly captivates me. Fortunately, with the admission ticket, you can enter as many times as you wish.