Monday, May 6, 2013

Pioneer Park, Zolfo Springs, FL

We have been staying here at the Thousand Trails Park in Wauchula, Fl for the past four or five winters, and have never taken the time to visit Pioneer Park in Zolfo Springs, which is about 1/4 mile down the road from the park.

Each winter Pioneer Days is held at the park and this year we both made a point of trying to remember that we wanted to attend. Unfortunately, I was very sick this year so................maybe next year? In the meantime, on Sunday we made a point of at least visiting the park. It is located directly on the Peace River with about 80 RV sites with water and electric hook-ups and several areas for primitive camping right along the Peace River. A very large pavilion is available for rent for groups; there are nature walks and a large boat ramp.

It is also home to the  Cracker Trail Museum, which unfortunately on Sunday way closed but we were still able to walk through the small Pioneer Village....

The picture on the left below is a wood-burning locomotive, built by Baldwin in 1914.  It was a gift in march 1967 from Kervin D. Revell of Wauchula to the Pioneer Park Museum.  The picture, top right is a ten-wheeler that was once owned by Cummer Sons Cypress Co.  Now it is proudly displayed here at the Pioneer Florida Museum.  The Marker, bottom righ, is in recognition of the legend of Morgan Bonaparte Mitzell, aka "Bone Mitzell" and he is described here as a "prairie philosopher, cowboy , humorist and prankster.  His body is buried nearby in Arcadia.

You follow the road through the park all the way to the back and you will find the Hardee County Wildlife Refuge.     This is an absolutely beautiful refuge with an elevated boardwalk where you can stroll at you leisure and watch Florida animals in their natural habitat.   Non of these animals are releasable.

 It is times like this that I really wish I had a better camera.........Many of the animals we could see - but were way too far away to get a picture.... Below is the raccoon,  several more were huddled napping an another pacing the area, the turtle and the bobcat.  You can see how they really blend in with their environment.

The walkways and the grounds are absolutely beautiful, and pavilions along the way describe the animals you see.......and the various types of trees and foliage.

Below was a huge waterfront home set up for the enjoyment of  a family of otter.

The alligator was sunning himself behind the bush across the water.... so I was only able to grab a picture of his snout!  The deer was quite a ways away too, way back among the tress in the bottom left photo.  And the black bear, despite the fact that we went back two or three times, never moved a muscle!

There were hundreds and hundreds of birds, mostly the black vultures or the turkey vultures.  They would perch along the walkways and be within arm's length as you walked by.  You would find them in the trees, the watering areas , and flying by overhead.

And I think Rich formed a lifelong friendship with this ostrich..  It must be a female taken in by his good looks - don't you think?   It followed him from one end of the walkway to the other.....and met him again at the fence as we exited the area.

Where else can you enjoy the animals and see such beauty for less than $10?  If you are in the area, we we recommend you stop by for a visit.  

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