All summer, 8 On Your Side is taking you on some GR8 Summer Getaways. We’re featuring family friendly, educational activities that cost a family of four $108 or less.
Polk County has a 1,267 acre free gem tucked along the shores of Lake Hancock between Lakeland and Winter Haven. Circle B Bar Reserve is a former cattle ranch that now delights hikers and bikers of all ages.
“It is a fabulous place. I recommend it to anybody that wants to bring their kids out and look at animals out in the wild, instead of animals in containment,” said Mike Holden, of Lake Wales.
The reserve is home to a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Birdwatchers have documented more than 200 species on the property.
“Every day brings a different experience,” said Polk County’s Environmental Lands Stewardship Coordinator Tabitha Biehl. “There’s the time of year you may see an otter, wild turkey, or wild hog crossing the trail.”
Biehl recommends visitors start their journey at the park’s Nature Discovery Center before they set out on the trail.
“You can learn about wetlands. You can travel through to the flat woods, then the sand hill, to the scrub uplands,” she explained.
Admission is always free. Pets are not permitted.
The county offers free tram tours and guided hikes throughout the year at Circle B Bar. You can the schedule here.