Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rothenbach Park, Sarasota FL

Sparky has discovered a beautiful park within Sarasota...It's a true gem....It's called Rothenbach Park and is at the east end of Bee Ridge Road, (8650 Bee Ridge Rd) in Sarasota. This is a park built around a closed, capped landfill area. There are beautiful playgrounds, shelter areas and about 4 miles of trails which are for pedestrians and bike riders. The one thing this park is not, is it's  NOT pet friendly. Pets, horses, dogs and cats are prohibited. There are so many other parks in Sarasota that allow pets, that this was a refreshing change to this former dog owner. No pet poop bags left behind, no dog poop or horse poop to worry about!

It appears to be relatively new, judging by the wonderful, modern playgrounds that are there. There is a playground called "Tot Lot" for the little ones, a second playground for kids 5-12, and a third "playground" for the whole family. The sign says bring out your family teams and have a go at all the equipment stations. It would be a fun place to have a family reunion.

Look at all the cool equipment for kids and grown up kids to play on! These side panels look like you are supposed to run through the center, kicking up your feet on the side panels as you go through? Not sure about that one...

Climb up a rope ladder as fast as you can up and then back down. There are several more stations in this fun playground area, but let's get to the trails, shall we?

Sparky has hiked Rothenbach Park twice....there is a one mile trail and a 2.75 mile trail. If you do both, then you can get almost 4 miles in. The trails are both out in the sun and in the shade. Here is the start of the 2.75 trail on a cloudy, drizzly day which goes through beautiful woodlands and jungles of Florida palms.....
Nature's umbrella
According to a local birding guide, there are northern parulas, (pretty little blue birds with golden yellow & brown chests) pileated woodpeckers, barred owls, blue grey gnatcatchers and many wintering and migrating bird species, but Sparky didn't spot any. The shady parts of the long trail are through major thickets of palm trees and vines. Looks like an umbrella, doesn't it? Nature's umbrella!
Lots of flora though....
These look like little sweet pea plants....there were cool little pods right next to this pretty little yellow flower. Lots of different colors of mosses and lichens....beautiful!
Some lichen (?) beginning to spread...
Some beautiful wildflowers along the way.....

Some more epiphytes--air plants...the plants that don't need soil. They just grab onto the nearest surface and thrive...these look like horse tails, don't they? The native Americans called them "tree hair". We usually call this "Spanish Moss". It hangs all over the place down here in Florida. It's actually a member of the pineapple and succulent family. Some people think it's a parasite, and harms the trees it grows on, but it doesn't. It gets its nutrients from rain, sunlight and airborne dust and debris. The plant's tissues hold water when it rains, and then green up a bit. As the water gets used, up, then the plant turns grey again. Dried moss makes great tinder for fires, something Sparky did not know! And chiggers don't get into the moss unless it's on the ground. Sparky saw a kid one time, on a field trip, scoop up a BUNCH of Spanish moss and put it on his head. She was thinking "CHIGGERS! Ewwwwwww!" Hope he didn't get chigger bites!

Ok, enough about Spanish Moss. Moving right along....speaking of moving, all along the trail, there are exercise stations, the "World Trail" with ideas for how to use the equipment. Sparky wasn't into that today....too busy enjoying the shady forest! (C'mon, Sparky, you aren't ever into gym equipment! says Eldo). And he'd be right about that. Sparky is not a gym person, at least not in her senior citizen stage of life. She's all about outdoor moving and walking and hiking, and kayaking.

Another view from a little bridge.....

Sparky did see some wildlife, though! A herd of white tailed deer--about nine of them. They were healthy, and really big!
On the home stretch on the outer trail....passed some kind of cement factory or quarry or construction materials site bordering on the right, hiked back around to the beginning of the trail and done!

If you want to have a wonderful, long, peaceful walk, check out Rothenbach Park. Sparky highly recommends it!


  1. If we head back to Florida we'll have to check out Rothenbach Park. Thanks for the Review.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. What a great park, and no dogs to deal with :) I read somewhere that Henry Ford used Spanish Moss in his first seats in the Model T, but when it dried up it wasn't that great. Love the look of the moss though.

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  4. I used to live in Florida, I thought I discovered most places, but I've never heard of this park before. When I go back I'll visit. Thanks

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