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Celebrate Park And Recreation Month With Family, Friends And Fun

July 5, 2009

~Visit a Florida State Park during Park and Recreation Month in July~

july-park-and-recreation-month-11Central, Fla. - Governor Charlie Crist recently signed a proclamation recognizing July as Park and Recreation Month. To celebrate, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service encourages Florida’s citizens, families and friends to experience outdoor recreation at a Florida state park in July.

“Florida’s state parks provide an endless opportunity for family and friends to enjoy the great outdoors and all of its benefits,” said Florida Park Service Director Mike Bullock. “During Park and Recreation Month, we encourage residents and visitors to experience the treasures of state parks in their backyard.”

Since 1985, the National Recreation and Park Association has designated July as Park and Recreation Month. This year, the Florida Park Service continues its Family. Friends. Fun. campaign which aims to reconnect children and families with nature by engaging them in outdoor activity.

july-park-and-recreation-month1Central Florida is host to a variety of state parks that engage visitors in natural surroundings, recreation, culture and history. Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park near Okeechobee is home to more than 100 miles of dirt roads that allow hikers, bicyclists and equestrians to explore the park’s prairies, wetlands and shady hammocks. For canoeing, boating and fishing, Tomoka State Park in Ormond Beach is a park enthusiast’s paradise and also offers full-facility campsites. For more information about state parks and activities in central Florida, visit the online park guide at www.FloridaStateParks.org.

Special events for Park and Recreation Month in central Florida include:

Adult Saltwater Fishing Workshop
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Thursday, July 2, 16, 23, 30, 2009. 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the Friends of Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, this event will consist of demonstrations of techniques anglers use to catch fish, the importance of conservation and safety, learning to identify saltwater fish species commonly caught in the area, and how to use a fishing rod and reel. The four hour workshop is open for ages 18 years and older. Space is limited and advanced registration is required. The fee is $20.00, including park entrance. For more information, call (386) 446-6783.

Kid’s Saltwater Fishing Workshop

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Friday, July 3, 9, 10, 17, 24, 31, 2009. 9:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the Friends of Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, this event will consist of demonstrations of techniques anglers use to catch fish, the importance of conservation and safety, learning to identify saltwater fish species commonly caught in the area, and how to use a fishing rod and reel. The four hour workshop is open to youth ages 8-17 years old. Space is limited and advanced registration is required. The fee is $20.00, including park entrance. For more information, call (386) 446-6783.

Sea Turtle Walks

Sebastian Inlet State Park
July 3, 5, 6, 7, 10-14, 17-21, 24-28, 31, 2009. 9:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.

Participants will learn about Florida’s sea turtles and maybe see a nesting loggerhead sea turtle, on a ranger led tour. Regular park entrance fee of $8.00 applies. For more information and reservations, call (772) 388-2750.

Junior Ranger Academy

Blue Spring State Park
Saturday, July 4th, 10:00 a.m. - 11: 00 a.m.

Participants will meet at the park’s lower parking lot pavilion for educational games, activities and stories related to Florida wildlife. This program is held the first weekend each month and kids who attend two or more sessions can receive a Blue Springs State Park Junior Ranger Patch! The program is for children grades K-5. Regular park admission fee of $6.00 applies. For more information, call (386) 775-3663.

Eastern Surfing Association Surf Contest

Sebastian Inlet State Park
Saturday, July 11 - Sunday, July 12, 2009. 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Observe local surfers complete in the Eastern Surfing Association Surf Contest. Regular park entrance fee of $8.00 applies. For more information, visit www.surfesa.org.

Golden Stories

Silver River State Park
Saturday, July 18, 2009. 7:00 pm

Dueling storytellers compete for the favor of the audience and for a chance to win the Golden Log of Story. This program will be held under the large pavilion. Insect repellant is suggested. Regular park entry fee of $6.00 applies. For more information, call (352) 236-7148.

Cracker Village Tour

Silver River State Park
Saturday, July 25, 2009. 4:00 p.m.

Participants will take a guided tour through the park’s replica cracker village, learning about Central Florida lifestyles in the 1800’s. Regular Park entry fee of $6.00 applies. For more information, call (352) 236-7148.

Stargazing

Silver River State Park
Saturday, July 25, 2009. 7:30 p.m.

The Ocala Astronomy Club brings telescopes and knowledge for an educational evening under the stars. The astronomy event allows beginners to learn about telescope usage and what to look for. A blanket or lawn chair, and insect repellant are suggested. Event is weather permitting. For more information, call (352) 236-7148.

Protecting Native Species

Wekiwa Springs State Park
Sunday, July 26, 2009. 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The non-profit company, Critter Encounters, and the sister company, Pest Logic, will exhibit boas, pythons and other species on the deck outside the park’s Nature Center. Regular park entrance fee of $6.00 applies. For more information, call (407) 884 2008.

To view the Governor’s Park and Recreation Month proclamation, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/news/2009/06/files/parks_rec_month.pdf

The first two-time Gold Medal winner honoring the nation’s best state park service, Florida’s state park system is one of the largest in the country with 160 parks, most of which are open 365 days a year. Florida’s state parks, which span more than 700,000 acres and include more than 100 miles of sandy white beach, provide an affordable outing for people of all ages. Caladesi Island State Park, just off the coast of Pinellas County, was honored with the coveted Best Beach in the Nation award in 2008. To learn more about Florida’s state parks, visit www.floridastateparks.org.

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