With acres upon acres of state and county parks throughout our area, St. Augustine and St. Johns County are the perfect places to get outside and learn. From yoga on the beach to wildlife education and fishing instruction, there’s plenty to do this month. So we’ve rounded up twelve talks, tours, classes, and lectures hosted by the state and county parks that are happening during the month of October. Start the fall season by exploring the world around you!
Jaws of the Sea
Nease Beachfront Park
October 2, 4, 16, & 30, 10-11am
It’s a beachfront walk that has some serious bite! The St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with Marineland Dolphin Adventure to host an interactive beach walk about sharks. You’ll learn about shark biology, local shark research, and the sharks that inhabit our waters, and tales about human and shark encounters. The program is free but requires reservations. Contact Kelly Ussia at [email protected] or (904) 209-0335 for details.
Everyone Can Conserve: Reptiles
Solomon Calhoun Center
October 4, 6:30-7:30pm
The St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with GTM Research Reserve for a family-friendly conversation night about the unique reptiles that call Florida home. This is an educational program that will feature live animals. The program is free, and snacks and refreshments will also be provided.
Washington Oaks State Park
October 5, 10am
Join park rangers in the garden for a special walk on the first Friday of each month. The walk will introduce guests to the history and variety of the gardens and ecosystems of one of the area’s most unique state parks. Washington Oaks sprawls 425 acres of coastal preserve. The garden walk is free with park admission.
Guided Exploration Hike
GTM Research Reserve
October 6, 9-11am
Learn about the cultural history of the Guana Peninsula and the rich diversity of the Reserve’s ecosystems. Led by a GTM Naturalist, the tour will illustrate how native peoples lived off the natural estuarine resources, demonstrate European plantation life, and discuss the current efforts to save the Reserve’s resources. The guided hike is free, but there is a $3 parking fee per vehicle and pre-registration is required.
River-to-Sea Trail Walk
October 10, 9-11am
Follow a GTM Research Reserve Guide as the lead you along Marineland’s path to the sea. Along the way, you’ll learn about the various shorebirds populating the area, the makeup of coquina rock, the importance of dune ecosystems, and the lives of local Native Americans. The walk will meet in the parking lot of the Preserve. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes. The walk is free, but requires reservations.
Fort Matanzas Kayak Trip
October 10-14, 25-28
Glide through the waters that surrounded Fort Matanzas with a St. Johns County Park Naturalist as your guide! It’s a beautiful new view of a local landmark from the Southeast Intracoastal Waterway. The trip is free, but registration is required. Start times for each trip vary. Times can be found at the registration link below.
GTM Research Reserve Lecture
October 16, 10-11am
The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve has partnered up with Marineland Dolphin Adventure to offer a free lecture on the third Tuesday of each month designed to inform the public about the natural world. Topics will range from wildlife and conservation to coastal ecosystems and more. Registration is not required, but space fills up fast, so it is suggested.
Saltwater Fishing Clinic 101
Usina Boat Ramp
October 17, 24, & 31, 9-11am
Learn the ins and outs of saltwater fishing in Florida. Ever wonder about how to assemble a fishing rig, how to pick a good fishing spot, or how to cook your catch? This class will cover all this and more! Bring your own gear and learn while you fish! This program is free, but please note that all participants must have a Saltwater Shoreline License. This is a free license from FWC.
A Night Under the Stars
Frank B. Butler Park
October 18, 8-10pm
St. Johns County Parks and Rec is partnering with the Ancient City Astronomy Club for an educational evening that is out of this world. ACAC will lead an Astronomy 101 class that will teach participants all about the night sky. Bring your friends and family to learn about the constellations, star names, and more. Telescopes and binoculars will be on hand to view the moon, planets, and other objects.
Yoga for Kids at the Beach
Frank B. Butler Park
October 19, 4-4:45pm
Let your little ones learn to relax their mind and body with some simple, kid-friendly stretches, exercises, and activities. Loose clothing is suggested, and you will need to bring your own towel or mat. The program is free and open to kids 5-12 years old. For more information, contact Kelly Ussia at 904.209.0335 or [email protected]
Owl & Sunset Symphony
October 19, 6:45-9pm
Learn about owls and enjoy nature’s symphony as you experience the transition from light to dark. Waterbirds and owls often come out to join the evening symphony. A representative from The Stetson Kennedy Foundation will share some local history.
Canopy Shores Park
October 20, 6:45-9:15pm
Learn about the creatures of the night as you explore our county parks at sunset in search of the resident owls. Bring your questions and share your stories about the nighttime forest activities. This program is free. For more information, contact AyoLane Halusky at 904.209.0348 or [email protected]