Take in the old Florida ecosystem of Emerson Point Preserve

Regardless of the weather, there's a beautiful, brackish ecosystem in Manatee County, ready for you to explore.

Emerson Pointe Preserve, managed and preserved by Manatee County, lies near the Manatee River and Tampa Bay, where fresh and saltwater combine to feed grass flats, oyster beds, mangroves, and shell middens.

"Shell middens are 'little islands of upland habitat that would traditionally be mangrove and wetland species, so you find things like prickly pear cactus, different types of grasses that you'd find high and dry," explained Alyssa Vinson, of the Manatee County Extension Office.

Emerson Point Preserve

Spanish bayonet, cabbage palm, and other species important to Florida's landscape also grow on the shell middens.

Emerson Pointe Preserve has a staffed nature center, plus trails, fishing coves, an observation tower and a butterfly garden.

To learn more about Emerson Pointe Preserve, visit www.mymanatee.org/departments/parks___natural_resources/parks__preserves___beaches/emerson_point_preserve. For information about all of Manatee County's outdoor activities, visit mymanatee.org/ecoevents.

Emerson Point Preserve

Emerson Point Preserve