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 14 talks, tours, classes, and lectures hosted by the state and county parks that are happening during the month of January. Get out and enjoy the beautiful Florida winter weather in our slice of paradise.
Old Spanish Quarries
Anastasia State Park
January 9 and 26, 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.
Living with Snakes and Gators
SJC Library Main Branch
January 11, 1:30pm
If you love all things that slither, hiss, and snap, this is the talk for you! Join 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!). This program is free, but you must register online.
Mindfulness Meditation and Garden Walk
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
January 11, 2-4pm
Join Ranger Joe Woodbury and learn to settle both your mind and body through the practice of mindfulness meditation. After the meditation practice, Ranger Joe will take the group on a walk through the lovely formal gardens of Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. Space is limited, so please call (386) 446-6783 and leave a message with your name and number of participants. The program is free with park admission.
Let’s Talk Turtle
Anastasia State Park
January 12 and 23, 10am
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.
GTM Research Reserve
January 12 and 26, 9-11am
On the second and fourth 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.
GTM Research Reserve Lecture
January 15, 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.
River-to-Sea Trail Walk
January 16, 9-11am
Join a GTM Research Reserve guide as they lead a group along the trail, teaching about shorebirds, mollusks, and shells, as well as how Native Americans lived in the area. Guests will also learn about the make-up of coquina rock, how beach vines and sea oats help anchor dunes, and why the dune ecosystem needs protection. The program is free, but reservations are required.
904 Naturalist Series: Life of Mammals
Main Library Branch and various locations around St. Johns County
January 16, 18, 19, 23, 25, and 30
Join Park Naturalist AyoLane Halusky to learn about the diverse environment that surrounds us and become a 904 Naturalist. There will be four programs with each one comprised of six classes held over three weeks. The first program is focused on the Life of Mammals including journal work, habitat study, and field trips to the Fairgrounds and Gourd Island Park. Participants must be able to attend all six classes. This program is FREE and open to adults ages 18 and up. For more information or to register, contact AyoLane Halusky at 904-209-0348 or [email protected]
Guided Beach Exploration
GTM Research Reserve
January 19, 9am
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. The guided tour is free, but there is a $3 per vehicle parking fee.
Anastasia Marsh Discovery Walk
Anastasia State Park
January 19, 12pm
On this marsh discovery, guests will be lead along the Anastasia Marsh Trail by a park ranger. They’ll learn all about how important estuarine systems are and the ins and outs of the inshore sides of barrier islands. Binoculars, comfortable walking shoes, a camera, drinking water, bug spray, and sunscreen are encouraged. The tour will meet by the Anastasia Watersports parking lot.
Sharks! Misunderstood Creatures of the Sea
Anastasia Island Library
January 22, 2-3pm
Sharks are one of the most feared creatures of the sea, but what do you really know about them? Come learn about the shark species that frequent our waters, the unique adaptations these animals have, and the real facts about shark attacks. This program is free, but seating for this event is first-come, first-served. All ages are welcome.
Saltwater Fishing 101
Usina Boat Ramp
January 23 and 30, 9-11am
Learn the ins and outs of saltwater fishing in Florida. Ever wonder what to put in your tackle box, how to measure your catch, or how to clean what you’ve caught? Please note that all participants must have a Saltwater Shoreline License. This is a free license from FWC. This program is free, but you must RSVP on Eventbrite to attend. The January 23rd class focuses on knot tying and the January 30 class focuses on tackle box essentials.
GTM Research Reserve Marineland
January 29, 9-11am
Join the GTM Research Reserve guide for a chance to learn all about the thriving ecosystem that is our local beaches. The guide will teach about shorebirds, mollusks, and shells as well as local geology. You’ll learn about the composition of the sand and the dynamics of the movement of the shore, coquina rocks and the flora and fauna of the beach. The program is free, but reservations are required.
Deep Creek Kayak Trip
Deep Creek Soft Launch
January 31, 10am-1pm
Join the St. Johns County Park Naturalists for a beautiful guided trip of Deep Creek. Participants will enjoy a scenic kayak trip surrounded by conservation land. St. Johns County Residents with their own boat are $20 and $30 without their own boat. Non-residents are $40 with their own boat and $50 without their own boat. For more info and to register, contact Kelly Ussia at [email protected] or 904-209-0335. When setting a reservation, please supply your phone number, email address, date of the trip you would like to attend, residency status, and if you will be using a county boat.