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  • Writer's pictureWendy De la Garza

First time visit: Brooker Creek Preserve

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

Brooker Creek Preserve is 8,700 acres of forested wetlands and pine flatwoods in Tarpon Springs. Brooker Creek is fed by 42 square miles of surface water!

The Education Center is amazing, and we spent half of our time inside. There were 2 Bingo Scavenger hunts, easy and hard, and we tried both. The kids were super excited to do it and ended up not stopping at 1 win. They just tried the whole Bingo board. The Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) burrow had an answer in it. There are burrowing owls inside... among 350 other species that depend on Gopher Tortoises for burrow habitat! Other creatures that use the burrows include raccoons, spiders, insects, armadillos, opossum, gopher frogs, rattlesnakes and indigo snakes.

After we got our free pencils for winning Bingo, we went outside and did another one. This time we chose the “hard” Bingo Scavenger hunt and the kids found everything but 2 items in 10 minutes without help. We need a harder one next time! (We let them know;)

The “Traveling Tree Walk” was amazing. As you walk through the boardwalk, different trees are identified for their value and benefit to the ecosystem.

Almost 3 hours later, the kids still have energy to jump out of the car for the Gopher Tortoise keystone species sighting!

They are a “threatened” species in Florida due to people running over them with their cars and building on their habitats.

{We also saw a deer. A doe to be precise. We did not have enough time to take a photo. It ran away before we could take one. But here is an emoji!🦌}

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Ray Salinas
Ray Salinas
Jun 04, 2021

Looks to have been a worth while adventure. Thanks for sharing!

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