Jacob Strickland, Park Manager
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. So, put on your winter woollies, grab family and friends and get outside. Recreating outdoors is a fantastic way to get kids to notice how nature hunkers down for the cold season.
When you look out into the winter landscape in northern Florida, it is often hard to believe that there is much of anything happening in the seemingly-quiet forests and fields. However, life abounds in these unique areas. Winter is time for hibernation for some animals, but for us humans it is a fun time of year to get outside and explore our natural world in a unique way. If you feel stuck indoors, here are some great ideas to get your family outside.
1. Animal tracking: Go for a nature walk and look down! Do you see footprints in the sand or in mud? Is the print near anything that can give you a clue about what the animal might have been doing or was someone simply passing by? What kind of animal do you think the tracks belong to?
2. Create a scavenger/treasure hunt using winter items: There is a lot to explore during the winter and some hidden treasures can be found. So, look at this list and start exploring our winter world to find these objects. Take a picture, check items off a list, or collect what you can and see what you can find!
3. Smores: These treats might conjure up images of summer evenings, but smores are yummy no matter what time of year! What is cozier than being bundled up around a fire and making these delicious treats?
4. Hug a tree: Wrap your arms around trees and see if any are too big to fully hug them! Younger trees have thinner trunks than older trees. What trees do you see and how big are they? Guess how old you think they might be.
5. Winter astronomy: Do you know your stars? Can you name any you see and what constellations are found in the sky during winter?
6. Litter pick up: Sometimes without all the plants in bloom, it is easier to see what doesn’t belong. Use the time when the ground is easily visible to pick up litter and keep nature clean and safe for all those who live there. Bring a trash receptacle and gloves!
7. Winter photography: If you love photographing nature, winter is an exciting time to get out there and capture the season! Whether it is a sunrise or sunset, a winter daytime scene, or animals, don’t let a little cold stop you from capturing these great moments on film!
No matter the season or weather, Florida State Parks have something fun to keep you active and amused. Through countless programs, events, and exhibits, we transform neighborhood parks and playgrounds into classrooms, theaters, gyms, planetariums, museums, and more. You can find fitness opportunities tailored to your age, location, and interests, or discover local events that match your availability and recreational desires.
While visiting the Florida Caverns, you can enjoy a variety of recreating activities such as sunbathing, swimming, camping, boating, snorkeling, canoeing, wildlife viewing, hike down one of our many trails, or visit our gift shop, visitor center and museum. If fishing is on your itinerary, you can fish the Chipola River by shoreline or by boat. There is something for everyone to enjoy with a multitude of recreational opportunities and abundant wildlife activity. If time is an issue, then stop and ask a ranger what they could recommend for someone with your tastes. Make this coming year memorable by visiting a Florida State Park near you!
We look forward to seeing and serving you at Florida Caverns State Park.
*** PLEASE NOTE ***
Cave tours are now open year-round except Thanksgiving and Christmas day.
Canoe rentals are available at the Visitor Center Concessions - Florida Caverns Gift Shop (850)526-2650
Please be aware our cave tours sometimes sell out so call our Ranger Station the day you plan to arrive, prior to departing for the park to ensure that all tours have not sold out for that day (850)482-1228.
Florida Caverns State Park is here to serve and meet your family's needs, please stop by and enjoy your park.