Thursday, November 13, 2014

George C. McGough Nature Park: My favorite place to take children or grandchildren

There are  so many things to entertain the children at McGough Nature Park

1. You can feed the turtles off the turtle deck.  Food can be purchased in the nature center for less than a dollar for the small cup. 


2. You can identify all 6 different kinds of turtles in the park. There are turtles in the water, turtles on the bank sunning themselves, turtles on tree roots and limbs, turtles in the nature center tank, and turtles in a pen outside eating from their own food dish. 



Chicken Turtle looking at you
Red Eared Slider, under the turtle deck waiting for some food
Yellow Bellied Turtle on a grassy bank
Yellow Footed Tortoise in an outside pen
Chicken Turtles on fallen branches
Mississippi Map Turtles in the nature center aquarium
3. You can watch the owls and hawks being socialized.  A park ranger will be available at 11am on Wednesday and 12pm on Saturday to show you a different bird of prey each week and answer any questions. You might catch a volunteer  between 10-2 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, taking a rescued owl and hawk out of his cage, tethering him to his leather glove, and walking among the visitors. Call Aleta Kane, the Nature Program Specialist at 727 518-3047 or email her at akane@largo.com for the latest schedule. 


Theresa with Red Shouldered Hawk
4. You can search for the gopher tortoise which is roaming around the woods and can be spotted from one of the trails. 


Gopher Tortoise
5. You can watch the butterflies in the butterfly garden. 

6. You can watch the caged live snakes in the nature center.  There is a caged red tailed, an albino rat snake, and an albino black rat snake.  There are also snake skins. 


7. You can watch the bearded dragon in the nature center warming himself under an infrared lamp. 





8. You can learn to identify fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals by studying specimens in the  nature center. 




9. You can participate in the many special activities. Recently they had an Owl-O-Ween in which the children followed a haunted trail with ghosts, goblins, bats and owls. The next event is Winter in the Woods on December 20, 2014. If you go to www.largonature.com you can get pre-register for this event and get the latest information about McGough Nature Park.


10. Bring a lunch and eat at one of the picnic tables or reserve a shelter and barbecue some hamburgers or have a birthday party. There is also restrooms and a playground, However there is no dogs or bicycles allowed on the trails.