PINELLAS COUNTY (WFLA) — In this Gr8 Summer Getaway we’re taking you to Weedon Island Preserve in Pinellas County. With more than 3,000 acres to explore, the preserve provides several different landscapes.
“There’s a lot of great knowledge out here,” Brian Niemann, with Pinellas County Extension, said. “You go through a variety of ecosystems from Mangroves to Scrub to Pine Flat Woods, you go through quite a few changes in terrain.”
Visitors can either hike the more than five miles of trails alone or with an experienced guide. “Its so pretty to see all the wildlife and the boardwalks are really nice and you get to see the sea creatures,” Kerry Gallagher said. Kerry and her sister, Kelly, spent time exploring the preserve as part of the Ranger Naturalist Program, a way for high school students to get service learning hours. News Channel 8 went along for part of the walk as the group took samples of an endangered plant that the preserve is trying to re-establish.
“I’m interested in the marine science field and the environment,” Kelly, a Tarpon Springs High School Student, said. “It’s nice to be out here to see if this is something I want to do in the future.”
In addition to the trails and boardwalk, there’s a 45-foot observation tower with a broad view. Guests can take a break from the heat or even hop inside the educational center. Renting a kayak through Sweetwater Kayaks costs $17 an hour for a single. Weedon Island Preserve fits our Gr8 Getaway budget because most of the activities are free.