Ranger Programs at Fort Cooper

a large group of people waits to go on a guided hike on a trail

Fort Cooper State Park has a multitude of exciting ranger programs to enjoy. The best way to experience any state park is through the eyes of those who work there, and these free programs are the perfect start to a fun-filled adventure in your state park.

In “Breakfast with a Ranger,” relax while a park ranger provides a presentation about the area’s history, park amenities and things you might see while exploring. Doughnuts, coffee and juice are provided, and sometimes there are special guest speakers.  Get all of your questions and curiosities answered, then enjoy an optional nature trail hike. 

The monthly “Bat Viewing” programs occur during the warmer months at Fort Cooper.  Meet at the pavilion at the specified time (generally shortly before dusk), and a park ranger will lead you on a short walk to the viewing area to patiently wait for the bats to come out for their evening flight. There are over 5,000 resident bats here, making this nightly occurrence an awesome experience.

The ranger-led “Animal Tracks” program takes you on a short hike to observe and try to identify which animals have been walking around in Fort Cooper State Park. Visitors will also have the opportunity to make a cast of an animal track to take home with them.

The geo-caching program is an introduction to the exciting hobby of finding hidden treasures throughout the world.  Learn how to get started, how to find geocaches and what to do when you find one.  The program is then followed by a hike to find some of the geo-caches hidden in the park.  This activity will inspire you to explore more of the park around than you may have ever done before!

Finally, the monthly ranger-led nature hike takes you on one of  the park’s three superb hiking trails. Fort Cooper State Park is a part of the Great Florida Birding Trail and offers more than five miles of hiking trails, with excellent bird and wildlife viewing opportunities. Follow a ranger to learn about the different plants, animals and insects that may be seen along the way. 

If you want to learn even more about Fort Cooper and it's many amazing features, be sure to come out to a hike, bat viewing, or whatever program you prefer, and see the Real Florida!