Saturday, March 23, 2019
Robinson Preserve in Sarasota
It's been awhile since Eldy or Sparky has been to Robinson Preserve. So Sparky headed out there for a hike....Located in northwest Bradenton, it's a really beautiful 679 acres with a LOT of options for hiking, kayaking, and enjoying nature. There is a 2.5 paved trail, and more than five miles of shell and coastal trails. It is within the boundaries of Tampa Bay and Perico Bay, so you can kayak there as well as hike. There are lots of bridges and boardwalks there....It also has a 40 foot observation tower where you have an unobstructed view of Tampa Bay. Nice!
There are two entrances, one on 9th Ave. NW, and the other at 17th Ave. NW. The preserve now encompasses 682 acres of mangroves, coastal wetlands, tidal marshes and some agricultural land. There's a new 2.5K rubberized trail (which Sparky missed somehow), and a section called the Nest, which is an educational facility and event space.
If you are looking for a shady hike, much of the trails at Robinson are in the open, but you can find shady spots to cool down and little alcoves by the water in front of Tampa Bay as you hike.
As Sparky walked around the perimeter of the park, she kept seeing these little underbrush trails that weren't marked. So she would follow them just a few feet, and tada! A little private beach spot with a little bit of sand, shade, and a place to put a couple of little chairs and sit and eat lunch.
There were spots that were shady for awhile, and then out in the hot sun for awhile. It seemed as though there was more open hiking than shady hiking, but that's a matter of personal preference and if you have a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen, no problem! There are quite a few little bridges and boardwalks as well.
The visitor's center was not open, which was a little surprising on a weekday, and the park being busy with snowbirds, but guess they can't staff the center as much as they like. Sparky would have liked to ask questions about kayak rental (thru a separate vendor--surferbus.com) and a few other things, but maybe next time. There are plenty of benches to sit and catch a break, and shaded benches along the trails. (There seems to be a recurring theme here of Sparky preferring shady hikes and not in direct sun hikes...you would be correct!) A few beautiful little wildflowers here and there...
Sparky had not seen butterflies for awhile...but she did see this one on some pretty orange flowers on a side trail....You have to look close to see the butterfly!
A good place to see mangroves....Mangrove roots help stabilize beach sand during humongous wind storms and hurricanes and provide nutrients and safety for marine life. A wonderful preserve and a wonderful place to come-- hike or bike or come sit and enjoy Florida's coastal life for awhile!
Bye for now.....