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Florida Birding, Wildlife & Nature Festivals

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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wildlife Management Areas
are Celebrating 75 Years of Florida's WMAs

One purchase of land in 1941 has grown into an almost 6 million acre system of conserved habitat across Florida. Wildlife management areas provide homes for some of Florida's most iconic, and threatened, wildlife species. At the same time, they contribute unparalleled hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Celebrate with Us!
Babcock-Webb Celebration: Jan 21, 2017
Florida Keys - Wings Over Florida: Feb 12, 2017
Chassahowitzka Bioblitz: April 1, 2017
Three Lakes - Wings Over Florida: April 29, 2017
June 3 - Apalachicola River WEA
Sept 9 - Joe Budd WMA
Oct 7 - Guana River WMA
Nov 18 - Hungryland WEA
Dec 2 - Tosohatchee WMA


January 6-8, 2017

      Smallwood Store, Chokoloskee, FL.
White pelicans winter in Chokoloskee Bay. The bay is located in the 10,000 Islands and Everglades National Park (west). Pelagic tours available by 6 seat motor boat or kayak (advanced reservations required) to approach, observe & photograph white pelicans offshore. Tours will include mangrove islands, home to osprey, bald eagles, egrets, ibis, herons and often, roseate spoonbills. There will be arts & craft booths, local bluegrass, authentic Seminole foods & guided bird walking tours of Chokoloskee Island. Speaker, Dr. Tommy King, research wildlife biologist from USDA/APHIS/WS National Wildlife Research Center, MS. Also on hand, local avian experts.
      Box 310, Chokoloskee, FL 34138. For more information, call Lynn McMillin at 239 695 2989, or visit

January 11-15, 2018

2017:       Become One with the River of Grass. Search South Florida hot spots for target species such as Snail Kite, Limpkin, Painted Bunting and up to 170 species in the Everglades, Corkscrew, STA 5, South Miami, Upper Keys, Palm Beach & Dade wetlands and more. A focus on learning advanced birding skills with daily mini-workshops, and handouts that are applied directly in the field on full day field trips. Top Guides and small groups increase birding experience. Also Keynotes James Currie, Paddy Cunningham, dinners, lunches and photography tract. TOP Florida Guides: Paddy Cunningham, Jim Eager, David Simpson.
      This festival specializes in full day field trips, daily field workshop, speakers, special dinners and birding fun. Focus will be on gaining advanced birding skills in a non-intimidating environment. For more information view and contact Paddy Cunningham at or 754-201-1141.

January 13-16, 2017, Naples

      Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve: Rookery Bay Nature Fest - (239) 417-6310
      Register today for field trips during the 12th Annual Southwest Florida Nature Festival! Explore the local environment through almost 40 guided field trips to 20 wildlife hot spots around Southwest Florida and lectures at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. Field trips, including birding walks, buggy rides and boat tours, are offered in conjunction with partners such as Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Big Cypress National Preserve and Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Enjoy field trips on all three days, onsite activities as follows:
      Friday, Jan. 15: admission to the Environmental Learning Center is $5 Buy-One/Get-one FREE (includes daily programs at 11 am and 2 pm)
      Friday, Jan. 15: admission to the Environmental Learning Center is $5 Buy-One/Get-one FREE (includes daily programs at 11 am and 2 pm)
      Saturday, Jan. 16: admission is $10 and includes entry to all 5 daytime lectures. Advanced registration is NOT required, must pay at door. Admission to the keynote presentation is $15, registration IS required.
      Sunday, Jan. 17: Environmental Learning Center is closed

January 20-22, 2017, Mount Dora
Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza Birding Weekend

      The Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza Birding Festival features many of the 360+ bird species on the 20,000-acre Lake Apopka North Shore. Choose among 2 full-day trips and 9 half-day trips, along with dinners and keynotes, including one by nationally-known birder Greg Miller. Saturday is the 5th annual Free family Birdapalooza festival. Join us on the North Shore of Lake Apopka for great birding! Visit our Website. For more information call Deborah Green at 386-690-4705.

January 25 - 30, 2017, Titusville

      Eastern Florida State College (formerly BCC) - Titusville, Florida
      The Brevard Nature Alliance is proud to assemble a prestigious group of locally, nationally and internationally recognized scientists, biologists, photographers, ornithologists, naturalists, artists and authors. Additionally, the Brevard Nature Alliance is fortunate to continue relationships with the many sponsors, partners and volunteers who support the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival. Lastly, we could not present this premier event without the variety of bird species that come to us via the Atlantic Flyway and the plethora of wildlife and plants that make their home on Florida's Space Coast.
      19th year in Titusville and the Space Coast. More than 200 activities, led by leading authorities. Considered by many to be the #1 wildlife festival in America.

January 28 & 29, 2017, Orange City

      10:00 am to 5:00 pm -- Valentine Park in Orange City (On West French Avenue, off U.S. Hwy. 17-92). Blue Spring State Park is Florida's most significant warm water refuge for the endangered manatee. This two-day environmental festival in Valentine Park in Orange City features educational exhibits on endangered wildlife, children's rides, food, crafts, craft show and free rides to see the manatees. Admission: $8.00 for adults, $2.00 for children 4-10, 3 and under are FREE, Dogs - $10. Free Shuttle Bus To Blue Spring State Park To See The Manatees! Info: (386) 775-9224.

Jan. 20 & 21, 2017, Lehigh Acres (eastern Lee County)

      Don't miss East County Water Control District's Fifth Annual Wings Over Water Festival on January 21st & 22nd at Harns Marsh in Lehigh Acres. Discover the beauty of southwest Florida's water, land and wildlife. Enjoy a guided nature walk on Friday. Or an array of activities on Saturday including a farmer's market, native plant sale, kid's activities, educational exhibits; and presentations from experts. Admission is free. More information is at Wings Over Water Festival.
      "The WOW Festival showcases to the importance of ECWCD's mission and provides a unique opportunity for community members to connect with local organizations and experience nature through an array of interactive experiences," said J. Nathan Stout, Chairman of the ECWCD Board of Commissioners.
      Getting there: From Lee Blvd. head north on Sunshine Blvd., turn left on Olive Ave. N. and then turn left on 38th St. W.; and continue to Harns Marsh.


February 4, 2017, St. Petersburg

Celebrate birds of prey at the fourth annual Raptor Fest at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.
      BIRDS OF PREY: Join us as we celebrate: Trained raptors in free flight, Live birds of prey in exhibits and presentations, Dissect owl pellets with Sensing Nature LLC, Free tram tours, Photo ops with live birds, Environmental exhibitors, Activities for children and families, Bird walks. Food and drinks available for purchase.
      For more information, please visit or contact Boyd Hill Nature Preserve at 727-893-7326, 1101 Country Club Way South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705.

February 04, 2017, St. Marks

11:00am - 4:00pm -- St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: 1255 Lighthouse Road, St. Marks, FL
      Come join us for the 9th Annual Wildlife, Heritage and Outdoors (WHO) Festival to be held February 4th at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy food, live music, contests, and activities for all ages. A Silent Auction will be held to benefit the Refuge's Environmental Education program. For more information, call the Refuge at 850-925-6121.

February 7, 2017, Port St. Joe

      Join us on Saturday, February 4th, 2017 for our popular Winter Bay Day! There will be lots to see and lots to do. Best of all, the Low Country Shrimp Boil will be delicious - as always! Meet you on the deck at the Visitors Center!
      Tour the Preserves: Enjoy a guided tour through the backwoods trails of the Buffer Preserves and learn about the native animals and plant life along the bay.
      All Proceeds to Benefit Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves (501.c.3 Non profit organization)
St. Joseph Bay Preserves Center, 3915 Hwy 30-A (Approximately 5 miles south of Port St. Joe). Call 850-229-1797 or visit for more information.

February 10 - 12, 2017, Palm Coast

      With more than 125 miles of hiking, biking and walking trails, miles of coastline, varied habitats and more than 200 identified species, Flagler County is a birder's paradise. Few places offer as many wonderful opportunities to enjoy nature while being so connected, accessible and clean. With a focus on families, beginners and experts alike, this festival will offer something for everyone.
      We're proud to have Greg Miller joining us for our inaugural year, along with a host of other great speakers and presenters. You won't want to miss out on this family friendly event!
      CLICK HERE to register for this exciting event.

February 18, 2017, JUPITER

Jonthan Dickinson State Park -- 10:00am - 4:000pm -- FREE family event.
      The festival will include guided nature walks, swamp buggy rides, kids' activities, music, a keynote presentation, hay rides and Q&A with a panel of experts. See you there!
      The Florida scrub-jay is the only bird species unique to Florida! Learn some fascinating characteristics of the Florida scrub-jay and their interesting habitat.
      See the park's webpage for more information:

NO FESTIVAL IN 2017, Christmas

February 25, 2017, Cape Coral

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Rotary Park Environmental Center, 5505 Rose Garden Road, Cape Coral FL 33914
      Cape Coral FL is home to the largest known population of the Florida BURROWING OWL with over 2500 documented burrows. These pint sized birds burrow underground where they nest from late February through July and are now the official city bird of Cape Coral.
      Highlights of the festival are lectures about the Burrowing Owl and other nature orientated topics, nature hikes to observe the varied habitats and wildlife at Rotary Park, guided bus tours to observe the Burrowing Owl habitats, as well as dozens of local artists showing and selling nature related arts and crafts. Various guest speakers will be on hand to give informative talks on various wildlife topics. One of the highlights of the festival is the newly dedicated interactive butterfly tent exhibit. This exhibit was dedicated to Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife member Tom Allen, who passed away in 2010 and was the driving force in getting this butterfly exhibit built and stocked.
      Admission is suggested donation of $5 for ages over 16.
      For directions or information call Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife at 239-980-2593 or visit Co-sponsored by Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife & the City of Cape Coral.


MARCH 11 - 18, 2017, Florida Keys

      The annual Outdoor Fest was created to remind people of the incredible natural resources we have available here in the Keys and encourage them to get outside while promoting an understanding and appreciation of the refuges—home to some of the world's most endangered habitats, plants, and wildlife species, including the endangered Key Deer.
      This year's fest kicks off in Key Largo at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge with a Saturday wildlife fair and nature-oriented field trips and presentations, progressing to the Lower Keys events later in the week, allowing those interested the option of enjoying all of the events offered.
      The Outdoor Fest is brought to you in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. For more information about the refuges, FAVOR, and the list of events, visit or contact Kristie Killam at 305.304.9625 or e-mail Nancy or Jan at

MARCH 18, 2017, Sebastian

10:00am - 4:00pm, Riverview Park -- 600 US Highway 1, Sebastian, Florida.
      Benefiting the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge: "1st refuge in the nation" — Free Parking – Free Admission – Free Activities
      Live Wildlife Shows, Bird Tours, Kayaking available, Refuge Tours, Environmental Exhibits, Food Vendors, Boat Tours to Pelican Island, Amateur Photo Contest, Kids' Educational Activities by Disney's Vero Beach Resort, T. Roosevelt impersonator, Arts & Crafts Exhibits, Historical Reenactments, Live DJ All Day, & More Family Fun.
      Call 772-202-0697,


April 21 - 24 2017, Marianna

      Come join us for a 4-day celebration of birds and wildlife in the beautiful Florida Panhandle, home to the world's largest population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. The Chipola Feather Fest will provide you with the opportunity to see this iconic species plus many other sought after birds such as Bachman's Sparrow, Swallow-tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Swainson's Warbler, Least Bittern, Snowy Plover, and Purple Gallinule.       For more information and/or to register for this exciting event please visit the Festival FACEBOOK page.

April, 2017 - Titusville

      Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary. 10:00am - 3:00pm. Guided walks, music, stories, games, displays, exhibits by many nature and conservation organizations.

April 15, 2017, Wakulla Springs

      The Wakulla Wildlife festival is a celebration of the area's wildlife and is intended to be especially inviting for children and the child in everyone. Local music, a Student Art Show (Aspiring Artists), children's activities, outdoor and wildlife exhibitors, and wildlife tours in a neighborhood family atmosphere make the festival an area favorite. The festival is held the third Saturday in April each year.
      Please visit for more information.

April 26 - 30, 2017, St. Augustine, FL

      We are once again spreading our wings to present a world-class birding and outdoor photography event.
      The Festival features more new world-renowned photographers, more new rare birding opportunities, and even more new in-field programs and technical training opportunities than previous events.
      Equally as impressive is the confirmed return of perhaps the greatest collection of upper echelon international nature and wildlife photographers in the world — a collection which continues to solidify Florida's Birding & Photo Fest as one of the premier and prized events in all of North America. And of course the community of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, & all of Florida's Historic Coast is welcoming bird lovers and photography aficionados with all the gracious, friendly hospitality one would expect from the Nation's Oldest City and Florida's most world-class destination.
      So without further ado, we welcome you to this Birding & Photo Fest—an event which glorifies the love we have for birds, nature, phtography and Florida's unique offering of the great outdoors. It will be yet another auspicious St. Augustine event which is destined to go down in History.
      For more information go to the Festival website at This year's event will be held at the GTM Research Reserve Environmental Education Center, located at 505 Guana River Rd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (904) 823-4500. (Just 10 miles north of downtown St. Augustine).


May 20 & 21, 2017 - Amelia Island

      This exciting 3-day festival of our bioregion around Amelia Island, includes numerous nature tours led by area naturalists and Park Rangers, nature photography workshops taught by local professionals, a nature-based / green business expo, The 'Kids Niche' nature-based activities for children, critters from the Jacksonville Zoo and more! This year's Wild Nites seminar schedule is complete.
      For questions, contact Jody Hetchka 904-251-0016 (days).


June 10, 2016, Titusville

      Sponsored by: the City of Titusville & Canaveral National Seashore: 321-403-9334.

Featuring: Turtle Watch Programs each evening. Rangers will provide a unique opportunity to view a loggerhead sea turtle laying her eggs.

Friday: Volunteer Beach Cleanup, Titusville Merchant's Sidewalk Sale, Sea Turtle lecture, Art Social and Music.

Saturday: Junior Ranger Program. Downtown Festival where booths, games, food and fun are just waiting for you.
Visit the website for details.


September 21 - 25, 2017, MARATHON

      Fall migration is THE time to be in the Florida Keys. Hawks are streaming south, migrating songbirds are filling the trees and Keys specialties can be found. Gain advanced skills and life birds to your list. Join Florida's TOP GUIDES and BIOLOGISTS in this exciting weekend of birding, learning and fun.
      All Day Van Trips, Workshop Field Trips, Birding & Nature Hikes, Evening Programs & Opening Reception. Pelagic Boat Trips, Sunset Tour, Kayak Tours.
      2017 Guides include: Paddy Cunningham, Paul Bithorn, David Simpson, Elsa Alvear, Gina Kent and Dr. Jon Meyers, Roberto Torres, or "Capt. Toe," & Trevor Watts.
      Contact Paddy Cunningham, South Florida Birding Festivals. Phone: 754-201-1141 or 954-805-6810. eMail:


September 29, 2016, Coral Gables

      Want to learn about South Florida's birds? Interested in becoming a birder? Or just want to start identifying our feathered friends? Then come to the Bird Festival at Fairchild!
      This year's keynote speaker will be Kenn Kaufman, lifelong naturalist and the originator and editor of the Kaufman Field Guides series. The festival begins with two days of off-site tours of South Florida bird habitats led by Tropical Audubon Society experts. The festival continues at Fairchild on Saturday and Sunday with activities for birders of all ages, including presentations by bird experts, bird walks, amateur bird photo contest and exhibit.
      For more information please visit the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Bird Festival Page. Contact: Vanessa Cook Email:, phone 305-667-1651 ext. 3377, 10901 Old Cutler Road Coral Gables, FL 33156.

October 8, 2016, Umatilla
FLORIDA BLACK BEAR and Wildlife Conservation FESTIVAL

9:am - 4:pm -- Cadwell Park located at 4 Cassady St. in Umatilla.
      The purpose of the Florida Black Bear and Wildlife Conservation Festival is to increase awareness and promote the safe coexistence of humans and wildlife by fostering community appreciation of the Florida black bear and other native wildlife species, as well as Florida's unique ecosystems that serve as wildlife habitat.
      Learn about the Florida Black Bear and the importance of protecting Florida's natural habitats. Activities include field trips to the Ocala National Forest, presentations on Florida bears and other wildlife and a "Florida Authors Corner." Other activities include a kid's pavilion, food, arts & crafts, a teddy bear repair clinic, live music, a Florida Black Bear maze and educational exhibits. Field trips start at 9:30AM with the last one at 2:00PM. Contact 407-323-1298, Festival WebsiteFacebook

October 13-16, 2016, Tampa Bay Area

      For birders, butterfly enthusiasts, and nature lovers, the Florida Birding and Nature Festival, scheduled for October 13-16, will offer a variety of talks, field trips, and nature-product booths topped off by key note speakers David Johnson, Director of the Global Owl Project speaking about Owls of the World and Carlton Ward, Jr., renowned nature photographer talking about the Florida Wildlife Corridor Project.
      The Festival is hosted by Hillsborough Community College, South Shore in Ruskin, a gold-ranked LEED Certified campus, the seven local Audubon chapters, the Suncoast Native Plant Society, and Hillsborough County. Field trip leaders include Florida's top birders and naturalists who will take participants to the best local sites for discovering a wide and varied spectrum of wildlife, habitats, and plant life.
      Contact: Melanie Higgins,, 813.625-1271, Website:

Oct. 14-16, 2016, Leesburg

      9 - 4 a.m. -- Venetian Gardens, 109 E. Dixie Ave., Leesburg -- Free (cost for various programs)
      The Festival will include Keynote speakers related to birding and wildflowers. Festival-goers will learn about the charismatic Florida Scrub-jay and the unique Florida scrub habitat. Other specialty field trips will be offered to area preserves and pristine public lands. Unique birding programs will be available by kayak, pontoon boats and seaplanes. For your dining experience, food trucks will be available. With Lake County's reputation as a premier birding location, it is the goal of this festival to enhance awareness and appreciation of Lake County's quality of life, and support environmental initiatives on behalf of citizens and visitors alike. We hope you can join us.       CONTACT: Call Yvonne Powers at 352-742-3925 or email --

October 16-22, 2016, Sanibel Island

      Mark your calendars for this year's "Ding" Darling Days birding and eco-festival at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida, the week of Oct. 16-22, 2016.
      Family Fun Day kicks off the week with free activities on Sunday, Oct. 16. It features all-free refuge tours, live wildlife presentations, archery clinics, hot dogs, a touch tank and butterfly house, and kids' nature crafts.
      Conservation Art Day winds up the celebration on Saturday, Oct. 22, with visits from Federal Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp winners and nature art workshops.
      Free and discounted birding, biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, sea life boating tours, and interpretive presentations will fill the week between the two events.
      The 27th annual "Ding" Darling Days celebrates the 140th birthday of the refuge's namesake, father of the Federal Duck Stamp program and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Jay N. "Ding" Darling. The refuge invites the public for free birthday cake and showing of the "America's Darling" documentary film starting at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 21.
      The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), and Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge's recreation concession, cosponsor "Ding" Darling Days with generous support from the local community and businesses.
      Visit for updates on events, information on sponsoring "Ding" Days, or to sign up for e-mail update bulletins. Contact Birgie Miller at 239-292-0566 or to become a sponsor.
      As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge's mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop proceeds.
      To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit or contact Birgie Miller at 239-292-0566 or

October 21 - 23, 2016, Vero Beach

      Pelican Island Preservation Society partnering with Environmental Learning Center.
      Juried Art Show opens Friday 5-8pm at the ELC location at 255 Live Oak in Vero Beach.
      Birding Tours that evening with a lecture
      Saturday opens with birding tours at 6am Art Show at 9am-5pm
      Sunday opens with birding tour at 7am Art Show at 10am-4pm
      For more information see To enter the Art Show email All forms of art accepted.

October 25, 2014, Gainesville
9th Florida Annual Bat Festival

      10:00am until 4:00pm. at Lubee Bat Conservancy, 1309 NW 192nd Ave, Gainesville, Florida, 32609.

      The 8th Annual Florida Bat Festival offers an opportunity to view giant fruit bats and enjoy the great outdoors while learning about how beneficial bats are to Florida"s environment and ecosystems worldwide. Brian Pope, Director of Lubee Bat Conservancy, explains that the festival provides an opportunity to educate everyone on the importance of bats in a unique and exciting atmosphere. According to Brian, "we are the only festival in the southeast that offers a chance to view the diversity of fruit bat species while learning about the importance of bats here in Florida and all over the world. People get a chance to see giant fruit bats with a 6' wingspan eating a variety of fruits and vegetables while interacting with numerous enrichment toys, a truly unique sight." The festival offers fun opportunities for the whole family. Whether you are viewing live fruit bats, sitting in on an education presentation, or visiting a vendor"s booth, the festival offers relaxation and recreation.
      For further information and to sign up for our newsletter please visit our website:


November 7, 2015 - Titusville
Forest Festival

10:00am to 3:00pm -- Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary.
      The activities will include Florida wildlife presentations, live music, guided hikes, environmental exhibitors, native plants for sale by the Florida Native Plant Society and more. There will also be children's activities, and face painting. Food will be available for purchase. This is a free event for all ages.

November 25, 2016, Naples
Florida Panther Festival

      Make plans to join us for this family-friendly event to celebrate our local wildlife including the endangered Florida panther. Along with all regular zoo activities, you'll enjoy outdoor exhibits by area conservation partners, fun activities for kids, guided nature walks on the Gordon River Greenway, and practical talks about living with wildlife presented by experts.
      Free Admission for Collier Residents: November 5 is a Naples Zoo Free Saturday for Collier County residents. Just bring a driver's license with a Collier County address or other proof of residency. http://www.floridapantherfestival.comCLICK HERE FOR THE FACEBOOK PAGE.

November 21, 2015, Charlotte Harbor
Charlotte Harbor Nature Festival

10:00am - 3:00pm — Charlotte County Sports Complex, 2300 El Jobean Rd. (SR 776), Port Charlotte, FL.
      The Charlotte Harbor Nature Festival is a regional family-friendly celebration where people can learn about topics affecting the natural environment of southwest Florida. This is accomplished through a wide variety of activities for both adults and children, which include guided walks in Tippecanoe Environmental Park, hands-on activities, exhibits and vendors, music, a Children's Discovery Zone and more. A committee of volunteers, who represent a diverse group of organizations, is dedicated to making this Festival exciting and informative. Admission and parking are both free. To learn more, watch the short videos we've posted on YouTube: 2013 at, 2012 and 2011
      Contact is Maran Hilgendorf with the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, tel: 941/575-3374 and email: The Web site is: