ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - St. Pete's skyline can be seen far in the distance, and it’s the only ‘urban’ reminder as you arrive at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, which is truly an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
“It’s really important where people can come to a place and get away from the sounds of the city,” said Taylor Graham, Nature Preserve Supervisor “You can just come and relax and be one with nature.”
Located in South St. Pete, the 245-acre park was once a private zoo until the City of St. Pete took it over in the 1950s. Before you can hit the six miles of trails and boardwalks, every tour first begins in the education center.
“We have our live animal viewing area,” Graham said. “We have a different Pinellas County fourth-grade class here every day of the week. People really love it. People come out here to walk, run -- We have a 5K trail,” she said.
If walking or running isn’t your thing -- there’s a golf cart tour every day at 1 p.m. One of the first stops is Boyd Hill’s Bird of Prey Aviary. All of the birds are rescued because they’ve been injured. They are cared for by a very-skilled and dedicated volunteer staff.
The Willow Marsh Boardwalk is an excellent place to check out somewhere between two to three hundred alligators estimated to live here in the preserve. The largest gator spotted is up to twelve feet long.
“We do not feed them," Graham said. "We do not feed the wildlife here. They feed themselves."
There’s also an all-natural, wooden playground that has existed for a little under a year. Graham said from an avid runner to a pre-schooler, Boyd Hill has something for people of all ages.
LINK: For additional information on visiting, head over to the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve website.