Manager's Message

Park Manager Zachary Phifer

Zachary Phifer, Park Manager

Our shady boardwalks provide a refuge from the summer sun. A stroll along the 1.1-mile trail affords a close-up glimpse into the lives of Florida’s wildlife. The Florida panthers are usually relaxing in the cool shade. Look for their pink tongue as they lightly pant to remain cool.

My favorite spot is the Underwater Observatory. The steady temperature of the spring keeps the structure a comfortable 74 degrees, and it's the perfect spot to relax and enjoy this sparkling spring. Below the water’s surface, you may see mullet or pinfish darting to and fro, while an occasional blue crab scurries across the rocky edge of the spring. One of our resident manatees could visit at the window, giving a perfect view of how they use their lips to feed. The summertime is a great opportunity to enjoy the calm of our park and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

Our park has several improvement projects underway. Our team is currently rebuilding the shorebird aviary as a multi-exhibit space. Once it is complete, visitors will be able to view an alligator and birds of prey. The gazebo in the Garden of the Springs has received a new deck. With the completion of our new boat barn, our boats have returned to service on Pepper Creek.

I am thankful for the great staff and volunteers here at the park. Without their dedication to the park’s natural and cultural resources, it wouldn’t be the great place that it is for all of us to enjoy.