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 hiking through the dunes to wildlife education and fishing instruction, there’s plenty to do this month. So we’ve rounded up 21 talks, tours, classes, and lectures hosted by the state and county parks that are happening during the month of April. Get out and enjoy the beautiful Florida spring weather in our slice of paradise.
Dolphin Paddle on Salt Run
Salt Run at Anastasia State Park
June 1, 15, and 29, 8-10am
Anastasia State Park is partnering with Anastasia Watersports and Marineland Dolphin Adventure for an exploration of the park’s rich estuarine marsh with an interpretative guide that will offer in-depth information about the dolphins and the other local marine life. The tour is $40 per person including boat rental, or $25 per person for those who provide their own boat. Call (904) 460-9111 to make a reservation.
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
June 7, 10am
On the first Friday of every month, this walk is led by a park ranger and introduces guests to the history and variety of the beautiful formal gardens nestled within the maritime hammock at this unique state park. This park features a variety of different ecosystems and acres and acres of beautiful wilderness to explore. The event is free, but regular park entrance fees are still applicable.
Sunset Dolphin Beach Walk
June 7, 20, and 25, 7:30-8:30pm
Hosted by Marineland Dolphin Adventure and the St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department, this walk gives participants a chance to see some incredible marine life as the sun goes down. An experienced guide will talk all about the anatomy and behavior of dolphins and whale species that can be found in the area as you keep a look out on the water. The event is free, but reservations are required. Visit the link below to register.
Second Saturdays Family Seining
GTM Research Reserve
June 8, 9-11am
On the second Saturdays of each month, the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTMNERR) hosts a family seining class – an opportunity for the whole family to learn how to use seine nets to collect various fish and crab. All necessary gear for seining is supplied by the reserve. The program is free, but reservations are required.
Star Gazing at TrailMark
TrailMark Welcome Center
June 8, 7-11pm
Join the Ancient City Astronomy Club for a night under the stars! Club members will have telescopes set up to view the moon, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and other celestial objects, and they’ll be able to answer your astronomical questions. Have a new telescope you aren’t sure how to use? The ACAC can help with set up and even a few pointers to help get you going! There will be food and drink available for purchase from some delicious local food trucks. The event is free and open to the public. Register at the link below.
Let’s Talk Turtle
Anastasia State Park
June 12 and 21, 1-2pm
Head to Anastasia State Park to learn all the fantastic facts about our beloved sea turtles. Rangers will teach guests about how to identify turtles, how they nest and hatch, and how we can help them survive the many dangers they encounter in our oceans. This program is family friendly and will take place at the Sea Turtle Pavilion near the Island Beach Grill. The lecture is free with regular park admission.
Old Spanish Quarries
Anastasia State Park
June 13 and 22, 10am
This historical look into the Old Spanish Quarries will give guests an inside perspective of how the quarry was used and how the use of coquina influenced the architecture and history of St. Augustine. For the tour, check in at the ranger station then head to the quarry parking area. The tour is free with park admission.
Basics in Nature Photography
Nease Beachfront Park
June 13, 7-8:30pm
Offered by St. Johns County Parks and Recreation and hosted by local photographer Nicholle Goodnight, this hands-on workshop is perfect for the photographer (amateur and otherwise) looking to expand their nature horizons. The workshop will teach participants how to make the most of their digital cameras – with tips on exposure, focus, composition, and more. Students should bring their own camera equipment and must be at least 12 years of age. The event is free, but registration is required. Register at the link below.
Guided Beach Walk
GTM Research Reserve
June 15, 9-10:30am
This monthly beach hike takes guests through the Guana South Beach location and teaches them all about the various species of animals and plants that call the beach home. Guides recommend that participants wear comfortable walking shoes and bring sun protection and a camera. The guided tour is free, but there is a $3 per vehicle parking fee.
Anastasia State Park
June 16 and 19, 8:30-10:30am
Calling amateur bird lovers and birding experts alike! Led by a park volunteer and naturalist, the walk leads guests along the beaches, boardwalk, and nature trails of the state park. Anastasia Park boasts a diverse variety of shore birds, marsh birds, and hammock birds, as well as migratory birds in the winter months that cannot be seen any other time of the year. Guests are encouraged to dress for the weather and bring binoculars, water, and walking shoes.
June 23, 8:30-10:30am
Led by a park volunteer and free to the public, this guided bird walk wanders through the park surrounding Fort Mose. Fort Mose is located along the Atlantic Flyway and boasts several natural environments where birds thrive, including an estuarine tidal marsh, a maritime hammock, and “Rookery Island,” which is home to many nesting species this season.
Treasures of the Beach
Anastasia Island Library
June 25, 2-3pm
Our East Coast beaches are constantly changing and bringing new items up for us to see. Shells, sea beans, grasses, shark’s teeth, and marine debris; come learn how to identify these items, where they come from, and so much more! Join St. Johns County Park Naturalist Kelly Ussia for an engaging talk about the amazing treasures you can find at the beach. This event is free, but seating is first-come, first-served. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at [email protected] or 904-209-0335.
Living with Snakes & Gators
Ponte Vedra Library
June 26, 2-3pm
Join St. Johns County Park Naturalist Kelly Ussia for a family-friendly presentation about the snakes and alligators found throughout the State of Florida and maybe even in your backyard. Learn about the various species of snakes in our area as well as how to live with the amazing crodillian neighbors. This program is open to all ages and is free. For more info, contact Kelly Ussia at [email protected] or 904-209-0335.
Nocatee Sunset Kayak Trips
Nocatee Landing, Ponte Vedra
June 27-30, 6:30-9pm
Explore the marshes of the Tolomato River with St. Johns County Naturalists. Participants will paddle the marsh and learn about the unique things that live there and why estuaries are so important. At the end of the tour participants will get to experience a beautiful sunset on the water. Non-residents using a county boat are $50, and non-residents providing their own boat are $40. Residents using a county boat are $30, and residents providing their own boat are $20. To register, contact Kelly Ussia at [email protected] or 904-209-0335. There is a 12-foot boat length minimum for participants bringing their own boat.
Featured image via St. Johns County Parks and Recreation