Spring Fling was a hit!

Nature headlines event for children of all ages  

Hundreds of families flocked to Little Manatee River State Park last Saturday to enjoy the outdoors and what could be the last of the season’s cool weather.

They were treated to all kinds of nature-related activities and exhibits by environmentally friendly groups like The Florida Aquarium, Tampa Bay Group Sierra Club, Tampa Audubon Society, Manatee Viewing Center and Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

The action took place at the park’s picnic area and its surrounding nature trails, where children of all ages were drawn to various stations where they built bat boxes, dissected owl pellets, learned to be ethical anglers and viewed live animals from Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Petersburg. The WaterVentures Learning Lab engaged visitors with free exhibits and activities on Florida’s rivers and waterways.

The five-hour event also included arts and crafts, food and live music.

For information on Little Manatee River State Park and its many offerings, visit www.floridastateparks.org/park/Little-Manatee-River.

Lois Kindle

LOIS KINDLE PHOTOS This barred owl was among numerous animals brought to the Spring Fling at Little Manatee River State Park April 8. They included three snakes, several owls, box turtles and a red-shouldered hawk.

Jeanie Schumacher and her husband, Russell, of Clearwater, walk through the WaterVentures Learning Lab traveling science center at Spring Fling April 8.

Young anglers got the chance to learn to cast a line and fish for a bit in the Little Manatee River during Spring Fling April 8 at Little Manatee River State Park.

Greg Sammel, of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, chats with Sherry Marts, of Sundance, right, and Dessa Stone-Pividal, of Tampa, about products for camping in natural settings and leaving campsites exactly as they were found.

A group of Spring Fling visitors listen as Dave McGuire, a 20-year Boyd Hill Nature Preserve volunteer, discusses Mystic, an injured barred owl that lives at the preserve.

Alissa Goding and her younger brother, Logan, proudly show off the bat boxes they made with their dad, Chris, at the Little Manatee River State Park Spring Fling.

Katelyn Goding and her dad, Chris, of Bradenton, put together a bat box during Spring Fling at Little Manatee River State Park.

Eric Mathis, of Seminole, chats with Tampa Audubon Society volunteers Julie Mearon, center, and Connie Anderson at the Little Manatee River State Park Spring Fling April 8.

LOIS KINDLE PHOTOS
Andrea Anderson, a ranger from Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Petersburg, gives a youngster the chance to hold a red rat snake, while she talks about its biology, behaviors and habitat at the recent Spring Fling at Little Manatee River State Park.