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TAMPA......ONE TANKFULL ADVENTURES
The State Parks Department are encouraging you to visit their parks on less than a tankfull of petrol. This is in keeping with the new environmental awareness that we are experiencing worldwide.
If you are visiting Tampa then you are within visiting distance of Homossassas, one of my favourite parks. Top tip; park your car at the paystation on the U. S. 19 (by the supermarket) and you get a lovely boat ride to the entrance to the park. This is down a crystal clear river and your boat man will point out the wildlife and other things of interest; the perfect top and tail to your day. Once inside you will enjoy animal encounters in natural surroundings with informative talks by park staff. The manatees and aquarium are not to be missed and you will also see alligators, birds of prey and snakes. This park will entertain you for a whole day. It is more expensive than other parks at $9 per person but is worth every cent. It is important that you take some good insect repellant in summer since the midges are prolific.
Now for one of the Parks departments many lovely islands. Honeymoon Island was so named since it was once developed as a retreat for newly weds. Previosly it was called Hog Island which sounds considerably less inviting. Gorgeous beaches, nature trails and abundant wildlife make for a thoroughly relaxing day out. This has been named Americas number one beach so is not to be missed.
Plantation tours are always interesting and Gamble Plantation State Park has the last complete plantation home to visit. This is furnished in typical mid nineteenth century style and there are guided tours roughly every hour. Take a packed lunch with you and take advantage of the picnic tables provided in the 16 acres of lovely grounds.
Nature lovers will want to head out to Crystal River State Park which is a lovely blend of islands and backwaters which is a haven for the abundant wild life. There is a visitor centre and should you choose to go on the third saturday of the month then the rangers present a video show that tells you all about this park. The fishing is good and there is a manageable two and a half nature trail. There is no entrance fee for this park and it is open 360 days of the year from 8. a. m to sundown.
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