Eco Tortoise

Florida Birding, Wildlife & Nature Festivals

| Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec |


January 15-19, 2015

      Become One with the River of Grass. Search Everglades National Park, Corkscrew Swamp, Upper Keys, Stormwater Treatment Area 5, Green Cay, South Dade, Key Biscayne and much more for rare and life birds such as Limpkin, Snail Kite, Smooth-billed Ani, Burrowing Owl, Common Myna and Purple Gallinule. We'll start off with a keynote by Paddy Cunningham: "Everglades, Unique & Precious." Join expert guides Paddy, Jim eager and others for an in-depth festival.
      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 (954) 805-6810.

January 16-18, 2015, Naples

      Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve: - (239) 417-6310
      Register today for field trips during the 11th 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. 16: admission to the Environmental Learning Center is $5 Buy-One/Get-one FREE (includes daily programs at 11 am and 2 pm)
      Saturday, Jan. 17: 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. 18: Environmental Learning Center is closed

January 21-26, 2015, Titusville

      Eastern Florida State College (formerly BCC) - Titusville, Florida
      Kickoff: An Evening with Julie Zickefoose Wednesday, Jan. 21, 6:00pm-8:30pm; at the Historic Emma Parrish Theatre; $30 includes keynote and reception.
      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.
      16th 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 24 & 25, 2015, 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. Info: (386) 775-9224.


February 6 - 8, 2015, 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 7, 2015, Port St. Joe

      Low Country Shrimp Boil 11:00-2:00: Fresh local shrimp, corn, kielbasa sausage, potatoes, garlic bread and tea.
Guided trips all day: Trips to St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve—Fall Wildflowers; St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve - Boat and Seagrass Wading Tours; Birding trips to St. Joseph Peninsula and nighttime astronomy program
      Tour the Preserves: Enjoy a trip through the backwoods trails of the Buffer Preserve to our Rare & Endangered plants, Prescribed Burn Sites, various Native Plants. Trips to learn about shore birds, explore the shoreline of 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 07, 2015, St. Marks

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 7th 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.
      WEBSITE[email protected]

February 14 & 15, 2015, Apopka

Northwest Recreation Center, 3710 Jason Dwelley Parkway, Apopka, FL 32712
      Join us in Apopka, Florida for a weekend highlighting the outdoor lifestyle! The Old Florida Outdoor Festival will feature birding, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, Highwaymen art, kids activities, a local farmer's market, backyard chili cook-off, DockDogs, and Florida Barbecue Association BBQ cook-off. Evenings at the Festival will be celebrated with national country music recording artists performing concerts at Northwest Recreation Center's Amphitheater.
      Join St. John's River Water Management and Orange Audubon Society for tours of Lake Apopka Restoration Area and the Lake Apopka North Shore. Considered one of the top observation areas for inland, wetland birds in the state, Lake Apopka's North Shore will be showcased as part of Old Florida Outdoor Festival. Bird diversity is unparalleled, and includes more than 348 species observed. Visitors can also anticipate seeing other wildlife including alligators, turtles, otters and bobcats.
      Bird tour participants must register in advance at
      Contact: Ashley L. Moore: 407-703-1809; [email protected]

February 21, 2015, Christmas

      9:00am - 3:00pm -- The Wetlands is a 1,650 acre world renowned example of Wetlands Engineering providing an oasis for flora, fauna, and feathered friends.
      The festival originates at Ft. Christmas Park in Christmas, Florida. It features include birdwatching tours, photo shoots, bicycle tours, native plant walks, bird banding and mist-netting demonstrations, wildlife shows, live music, and bus tours will travel along the wetland berms. Contact Mark Sees, (407) 568-1706. Website.

Februrary 22, 2014, 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.

February 27 & 28, 2015, Lehigh Acres (eastern Lee County)

      Don't miss East County Water Control District's Fourth Annual Wings Over Water Festival on February 27th and February 28th 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 – including Chad Crawford – Host of the TV show "How to Do Florida". 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 28, 2015, Titusville

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. 10:00am - 3:30pm
      Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is hosting the sixth annual Florida Scrub-Jay Festival on Feb. 28, 2015 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. The event celebrates the endangered scrub habitat and Florida Scrub-jay, a threatened species found only in Florida. The event and all activities are free. The festival will offer live music, nature tours, live animals displays, and childrens' activities and games. Please call 321-861-5601 for information.
      The main event will take place at the refuge visitor center located on SR 402, 5 miles east of the Intersection of U.S. 1 and Garden Street (SR406) in Titusville. From the intersection of U.S. 1 and Garden Street, head east over the Max Brewer Bridge and continue to the fork in the road. Bear right at the fork and continue 2 miles to the entrance to the visitor center.
      Please call 321-861-5601 to make reservations. The Visitor Center is located on SR 402, 5 miles east of U.S. 1 in Titusville.


March 8 & 9, 2014, St. Petersburg -- CHANGED - Update coming for 2016

      Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way South, St. Petersburg
      This nature festival is a community event which targets teachers, non-formal environmental educators, students and especially our local community. The event is free to the public as well as exhibitors and vendors. A pleasant surprise in urban St. Petersburg awaits you on the shores of Lake Maggiore. This preserve has 6 miles of trails and boardwalks, plus lakefront access, hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, upland scrub, freshwater swamp and a freshwater marsh.
      WEBSITE • Boyd Hill Nature Preserve: 727-893-7326.

March 11 - 16, 2015, Hendry County

      The Big "O" Birding Festival is a Hendry County event organized to showcase the migratory and resident birds located in rural South Central Florida. We're home to more than 250 species of birds, including Limpkins and migratory Swallow-tailed Kites plus Painted Buntings which pass through during October and April. New this year will be trips to Audubon's Lake Okeechobee Sanctuary which is only accessible by airboat and photo workshops with Don Hamilton.
      Nine Great Florida Birding Trail sites are within the region: Dinner Island Ranch and Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest, and Spirit of the Wild which are Wildlife Management Areas, and Stormwater Treatment Area #5 (STA5) in Hendry County, and Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area—East & West in Glades County.
      Expect to see ducks including Fulvous Whistling-Ducks and Mottled Ducks; shorebirds like Black-necked Stilt; waders such as Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork and Least Bittern; and specialty raptors including Crested Caracara, Snail Kite, and Barred Owl. Come and help us search for South Florida's specialty birds.
      e-mail: [email protected], call 863-675-0444.

MARCH 15, 2014, Sebastian

10:00am - 4:00pm, Riverview Park -- 600 US Highway 1, Sebastian, Florida.
Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary
      Benefiting the Pelican Island 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 ELC, T. Roosevelt impersonator, Arts St Crafts Exhibits, Historical Reenactments, Live DJ All Day, & More Family Fun
      Call 772-202-0697,

March 20-23, 2014, Brooksville

      Chinsegut Conservation Center in Hernando County: 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
      Formerly known as the Chinsegut Birding and Wildlife Festival. Make plans to celebrate the rush of migrating wings north along the Atlantic flyway over Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties during the 2nd annual Nature Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. This four day event will feature a variety of programs, activities and field trips highlighting the special birds and wildlife along Florida's Nature Coast. Pre-registration is required for General Admission, all field trips, keynotes and programs.
      Chinsegut Nature Center, 23212 Lake Lindsey Road, Brooksville, FL 34601; WEBSITE • Festival Contact: Andy Wraithmell • 850-488-9453.


April 18 - 20, 2014 - Gainsville

      Hosting the first annual festival April 18-20, 2014 with paddling, birding, hiking, nature photography, butterfly museum visit, seminars, and bat events! Join us to experience our springs, rivers, sink holes, conservation areas, and butterfly museum! This will also be Florida's only International Migratory Bird Day event, which we will celebrate with children's events Saturday and a celebration Saturday night! Check out our festival blog posts to follow the planning of the festival!
      Join us to experience our birding, nature, and southern, "Old Florida," charm and hospitality! Register at!

April 19, 2014, Tallahassee

      The annual Wakulla Wildlife Festival will be held Saturday, April 19, 2014 at Wakulla Springs State Park. The festival is a celebration of outdoor activities and area heritage. Local musicians, artists, and experts offer festival participants one-of-a-kind experiences, helpful advice, and personal enrichment in a neighborhood family atmosphere.
      It will continue to include the ever-popular premium guided tours, living history demonstrators and children's activities. Special Bird of Prey and Reptile Shows presented by the Center for Wildlife Education of Georgia Southern University are planned. Exhibitors on the main festival grounds will introduce guests to a wide assortment of outdoor activities and provide close encounters with area wildlife. Contact Della Parker-Hanson at, 850-926-4293;

April 24 - April 26 2015, Marianna

      The Chipola Feather Fest takes place from Friday, April 24th to Sunday, April 26th 2015. A variety of field trips, workshops and social activities have been scheduled providing opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Florida Panhandle, home to the world's largest population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. There are many other sought after birds, animals and plants in the area such as Bachman's Sparrow, Swallow-tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Swainson's Warbler, Least Bittern, Purple Gallinule, Gopher Tortoise, Fox Squirrel, American Alligator, and much more.
      This event is brought to you by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Jackson County Tourist Development Council, Chipola College, and Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce.
      For more information and/or to register for this exciting event please visit the FESTIVAL WEBSITE OR the Festival FACEBOOK page.

April 30 - May 4, 2014, St. Augustine

      We are once again spreading our wings to present a world-class birding and outdoor photography event.
      The 2014 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.
      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).

April 19, 2014 - Titusville

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


May 16-18, 2014 - 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.
      This year's critter is the Horseshoe Crab. An ancient animal that has not evolved for over 3 million years but is a vital part of the coastal ecosystem. And, guess what, it's not a crab at all!
      For questions, contact Jody Hetchka 904-251-0016 (days).


June 13 - 15, 2014, 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 23 - 28, 2014, Florida Keys

      Our 16th annual six-day event will get you birding in spectacular natural areas throughout the entire Florida Keys. The 2014 festival includes a fantastic selection of birding experts who will lead morning walks, midday workshops and evening presentations. Witness the spectacular fall migration of falcons, hawks, songbirds and other magnificent avian species.
      Immerse yourself in our tropical habitats that are home to beautiful endemic plants and wildlife. Participate in a multitude of guided walks, boat adventures, photography lessons, citizen science and keynote speaker events. We have four national wildlife refuges, 10 state parks, three national parks, a national marine sanctuary and many other natural areas just waiting to be explored!
      Contact Kristie Killam at 305-872-0774 or 305-304-9625; [email protected]. Visit


October 1-4, 2015, 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: [email protected], phone 305-667-1651 ext. 3377, 10901 Old Cutler Road Coral Gables, FL 33156.

October 3-5, 2014, Tavares

Programs will start at 7am & go until early evening on Friday and Saturday. Sunday 7:00 to noon.
Hickory Point Park, 27341 State Road 19, Tavares, FL 32778
Prices range from free admission to special $35 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 [email protected]

October 10, 2015, 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 17 - 19, 2014, Vero Beach

      Birding tours — juried Bird & Nature Art show.
      Sponsored by the Cultural Council of Indian River County. For more information you can email [email protected]. Website.

October 18-24, 2015, 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. 18-24, 2015.
      Family Fun Day kicks off the week with free activities on Sunday, Oct. 18. It features all-free refuge tours, live wildlife presentations, archery clinics, hot dogs, a touch tank and butterfly house, and kids' nature crafts.
      Heather Henson's Ibex Puppetry, will return with performances featuring life-size endangered animal puppets, in the tradition of her father, muppeteer Jim Henson.
      Conservation Art Day winds up the celebration on Saturday, Oct. 24, 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, and interpretive presentations will fill the week between the two events.
      The 26th annual "Ding" Darling Days celebrates the birthday of the refuge's namesake, father of the Federal Duck Stamp program and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, Jay N. "Ding" Darling.
      The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), and Tarpon Bay Explorers 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 Wendy Schnapp at 239-470-1877 or [email protected] to become a sponsor.

October 26, 2013, 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 15, 2014 - 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 15 & 16, 2014, Naples
Florida Panther Festival

      10:00am - 4:00.m – FREE admission — North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples, FL 34119
      November 15: This family friendly event is aimed at promoting coexistence between people, pets, livestock and panthers by fostering appreciation and understanding of these beautiful big cats. The Panther Festival is a free and fun way to learn about these amazing creatures! We need you, to help panthers thrive!
      Indoor & Outdoor Exhibits • Live Music • Local Food Vendors • Arts & Crafts • Children's Games & Activities • Guided Trail Walks and opportunities to speak with panther experts
      Field trips available on Sunday, Novembe 16, 2014.
      Information: Email: [email protected] • Phone: (727) 599-7624 •

November 22, 2014, 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: [email protected]. The Web site is:


December 5 & 6, 2014 - Tamiami Trail, Ochopee, South Florida
Big Cypress Swamp National Preserve's 40th Anniversary

The celebration begins Friday December 5 at the Big Cypress Birthday Bash in Naples with live music and dancing to the JJ McCoy Band from 7 to 10 PM on the grounds of the Collier County Museum, 3331 Tamiami Trail East. Ticket levels are $75 or $125 per person. The event is hosted by the South Florida National Parks Trust, the official nonprofit partner of Big Cypress National Preserve. Event proceeds benefit SWAMP, the preserve's curriculum-based education program. The program provides an opportunity for every 6th grade student in Collier County to explore Big Cypress Swamp on a ranger-guided field trip. For tickets, go to:

The celebration continues on Saturday December 6 from 10:30 AM to 4 PM at the 4th annual Swamp Heritage Festival in Big Cypress hosted by the National Park Service. This free family event provides a venue for individuals and groups with a deep connection to the Big Cypress Swamp an opportunity to share stories of the past and hopes for the future related to this special place. Through living history demonstrations, informative presentations, and exhibits everyone can learn what daily life was and is like in such a remote, and at times, inhospitable place.

The Swamp Heritage Festival takes place at the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center, 33000 Tamiami Trail East in Ochopee. For more information on the day's events and featured guests, go to, or contact the National Park Service at 239-695-4768.



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