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Audubon Outing June 14 

Courtesy of Skidway Audubon

Looking for a place where both young and old can enjoy the outdoors, with a live reptile display, hiking trails, nature programs, a bird watching area, playground, geocaching, observation tower, great marsh views, a 20-foot-tall skeleton, and a cool gift shop? It’s right here on Skidaway Island. 

Friends of Skidaway Audubon will host a family-friendly outing on June 14 for residents to get to know the island’s hidden gem -- the newly refurbished, better-than-ever, Skidaway Island State Park. 

The June 14 event begins at 3 p.m. in the air-conditioned group shelter. Youngsters will set off on a scavenger hunt, while adults enjoy a presentation by Interpretive Ranger Ariel Gernatt. A guided walk along the Sandpiper Trail will follow. The one-mile loop trail begins and concludes at the new interpretive center. 

A ribbon cutting for the new center was held May 13. The building features floor to ceiling windows, nature exhibits, including live turtles and snakes, a registration desk where annual park passes can be purchased, a nature-themed gift shop packed with a huge variety of quality items, and a skeletal replica of a giant ground sloth that roamed the island during the ice age. The giant sloth remains were discovered on Skidaway in 1822. It is estimated the herbivore weighed three-to-five tons. 

Behind the air-conditioned interpretive center is a large stone fire pit and a bird-watching area. Skidaway Audubon provided a grant for the acquisition of the nesting boxes and the bird feeders, which were installed by Jason Peliwo, the local owner of Wild Birds Unlimited. 

The June 14 event is free for current members of Friends of Skidaway Audubon (FOSA). Members must show their FOSA membership card at the gate. There is a $5 parking fee for non-members. To register, call the park office (598-2300). The rain date is June 21. To become a FOSA member, visit skidawayaudubon.org/membership.

 

Check out this long-time resident of Skidaway, a pre-historic giant sloth, June 14 at Skidaway Island State Park.