Find FREE Family Fun Year-Round at Circle B
Posted on July 13th, 2012 by Rebecca Thompson
Discover the fun in nature at Central Florida’s Circle B-Bar Reserve, centrally located between Winter Haven, Lakeland and Bartow on Winter Lake Road. This local favorite includes freshwater marshes, hardwood swamps, oak hammocks, creeks and lakes and is also home to waterfowl, ospreys, eagles and alligators. Found on the northwest shore of Lake Hancock, this former cattle ranch is home to several distinct ecosystems in its 1,267 acres, and you’re almost guaranteed to spot some alligators.
This nature reserve has even been recognized by USA Today Travel as one of the 51 Great Places to See Wildlife and is great for bird watching, cycling, hiking, taking photos and more on its nine trails located around the property:
Shady Oak Trail – (1.3 miles, Easy, Shaded)
Lost Bridge Trail – (0.5 miles, Easy, Mostly Shaded)
Alligator Alley – (1.0 miles, Easy, Mostly Shaded)
Marsh Rabbit Run – (0.7 miles, Easy, Partially Shaded)
Heron Hideout – (0.5 miles, Easy. Little Shade)
Eagle Roost – (0.7 miles, Moderate, No Shade)
Wading Bird Way – (0.7 miles, Moderate No Shade)
Windmill Whisper – (0.4 miles, Moderate, Some Shade)
Otter Trail – (0.2 miles, Easy, Shaded)
Polk’s Nature Discovery Center
Also located at Circle B is Polk’s Nature Discovery Center. Step inside to find a life-like live oak in the center of the room, and feel free to climb up the ladder and take a look around from this exhibit. Just like the rest of the reserve, this information station is free of charge and a great choice for families. Find exhibits specifically designed to engage and excite young minds such as the lakes exhibit. This living exhibit provides guests with a close-up view of local fish and allows users to examine ways to better protect the water in the lakes they visit. The Discovery Center also offers a variety of educational programs including a nature photo hunt, nature bingo cards, traveling trunks, a resource room, indoor and outdoor classrooms, an instructor workshop and more. When planning for a group of 10 participants or more, the Discovery Center requests scheduling visits beforehand.
Free family fun year-round
Taking place October 4-7,2012 , Central Florida’s Naturefest will offer something for everyone, and Circle B will serve as the check-in base. Naturefest excursions are planned at locations across Polk County, including the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest, Bok Tower Gardens, Colt Creek State Park, The Avon Park Air Force Range, Disney Wilderness Preserve along with Circle B. Participants will have the chance to participate in activities such as birding, hiking, kayaking, butterfly and wildflower viewing, nature photography, star-gazing and air boat tours. Online registration is already open for this nature-packed weekend full of excursions!
Free summer activities are also taking place this month and include:
Florida Trails Hike- Sunday, July 15, 2012
Tram Nature Tour- Sunday, July 15, 2012
Astronomy Night- Saturday, July 21, 2012
Birds, Butterflies and Wildflowers Tour- Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Monday – Sunday, 6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Polk Nature Discovery Center-
Tuesday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m
Sunday Noon – 4 p.m.