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Looking for a natural outdoor location with trees and space, away from traffic and concrete and crowds?
Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve is that sort of place—440 acres of flatlands and wetlands accessible by easy walking trails, with views of Lake Tibet-Butler. (No dogs or bicycles allowed.)
The preserve has a nice environmental center with exhibits and displays. There are six short trails, from a half-mile to several miles long, that go through the forest. You may see gopher tortoises, bald eagles, and perhaps even a bobcat.
This is a great place to go if you have an hour or half a day. Take the kids, take a picnic, or go alone with a cup of coffee or a flask of water. It’s wonderful in the cool-season months, when the weather is perfect for being outside and taking your time to stroll the trails. Even in the summer, though, there’s plenty of shade. Summer visits are generally most enjoyable in the first part of the morning.
Classes for Kids
The Vera Carter Environmental Center offers one-hour classes for kids on Saturdays mornings, October through March. These $2 classes cover a wide range of subjects, including snakes, bats, fingerprints, the Seminole Indians, ecosystems, underground water, flowers, birds, trees, wetlands, and others. Of course, all content is geared for kids and is designed to encourage their interest in and respect for the natural world that surrounds them.
Plenty of Birds
Are you a birder? Take binoculars and enjoy the 100 species of birds that call the preserve home. The habitats in the preserve include bay swamp, pine flatwoods, scrub, and freshwater marsh. This array of habitats draws diverse resident and migratory bird populations that come for food, water, shelter, and space.
Park naturalists have participated in a program that surveys the birds that visit feeders in the preserve. In 2000, the Tibet-Butler Preserve was selected as a site on the Great Florida Birding Trail due to its opportunities for bird watching as well as its offerings in bird education.
These are some of the categories of birds that visitors may see at Tibet-Butler Preserve: pelicans; cormorants (anhingas); wading birds (herons, egrets, ibis); storks and cranes; ducks; birds of prey (vultures, kites, hawks, eagles); turkey and quail; gulls; doves; owls; woodpeckers; swallows; crows; wood-warblers; blackbirds; and many others.
A part of the Orange County Parks system, Tibet-Butler Preserve is open Sunday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s located at 8777 Winter Garden-Vineland Road, Orlando, 32836.
For more info, email Orange County Parks and Recreations, [email protected] or call 407.836.6200.
Have you ever thought about going on a Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour?