Many of us are looking for ways to remain active while also staying a safe distance away from others. That's why Sarah Phinney started a ‘Walking Club’ to highlight some hidden, and some not so hidden, trails and parks across Tampa Bay.
Explore George C. McGough Nature Park with your family this weekend. Kids will get a kick out of feeding the turtles and adults will love the cushy walking path. Here’s what you need to know before you hop in the car!
Where is it?
George C. McGough Nature Park is located on the southwestern side of Largo, just before the bridge to Indian Rocks Beach. Put this address in your phone:
Dogs are not allowed at the park.
What is there to do?
George C. McGough Nature Park is commonly known as the “turtle park” because, well, there are thousands of turtles!
You’ll see many sunbathing if you visit in the late morning or early afternoon.
If you want to get them moving, you can buy feed from inside the Narrows Nature Center for 50 cents or a dollar.
“The turtles have certainly learned to recognize who’s holding food and who is not,” said Taylor Kahns, City of Largo Park Supervisor. “Start throwing the food out and they’ll start coming.”
The park also has a Birds of Prey program. There are 23 birds, but Kahns says the big draws are Sarge, the bald eagle, and the eastern screech-owl.
“Every one of the birds that we have is either injured in rehabilitation or has been deemed unreleasable. We do not keep healthy birds in cages.”
Kevin Cavanagh, Bird of Prey Director at George C. McGough Nature Park, says you could find volunteers taking the birds out on glove daily between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
“You’ve got a really good opportunity if you come in around that time to be able to see the birds outside of their enclosures and you don’t have to be taking pictures through the wire,” said Cavanagh. “All of the volunteers will be willing to answer any questions you may have.”
Don’t forget to take the kids to the playground, where they’re sure to have a ton of fun on the little zip line.
What about the walking paths?
You’ll notice an extra bounce in your step while walking the just under a mile trail. That’s because it’s made out of recycled tires!
“If you’ve got some knee issues, some joint issues, it’s much nicer to walk on than some hard pavement,” said Kahns.
Bikes are not allowed on the trail.
Visitors will also enjoy small nature paths and boardwalks that lead out to the Intracoastal.
“If you’re lucky on the Intracoastal and you’re patient, you will see manatees as they migrate back and forth as the tide comes in and out,” said Kahns.
When should I visit?
The park is open from sunrise to sunset. It gets busy on weekends so an early arrival is always best.
While popular, Kahns says the park is still constantly being discovered for the first time.
“There are still a lot of people who would love this park, but don’t know it’s here.”
Join Walking Club!
Post photos of your adventures, ask questions and learn about upcoming #WalkingClub stories in Sarah’s Walking Club group on Facebook!