I often visit the Camp Bayou Nature Preserve Park in Ruskin, Florida to walk the trails in hope of seeing some snakes or unusual insects, but this time I went when the fossil exhibits were open (Saturday 9-2). Florida has very few fossils from earlier than the Pleistocene, when there were giant pigs and Megalodon sharks, so the Velociraptor skull they have had to be brought in from elsewhere. Everywhere there are bits and pieces that used to be inside alligators, crocodiles, horses, llamas, and mammoths. On the floor was a mammoth tusk that probably weighs more than I do. There are original bones, mineralized bones, and resin casts. There are also many mollusks and echinoderms represented, as well as agatized coral, Florida’s official state fossil and stone. It was sad to hear that the places where most of these items came from were closed years ago and no longer looking for volunteers. It was fun, interesting, and informative.
The park has many trails, a butterfly garden, and an outdoor Seminole village exhibit. It has a miniature, outdoor, self-service library. In past visits, I have seen snakes, turtles, armadillos, and very many birds. This time, I just took a quick walk. The palmetto around rustles very loudly with the slightest movement. What I thought was a prehistoric pig crashing through the undergrowth turned out to just be a squirrel. I also saw an osprey in a tree and we stared at each other until I got bored. There is always something to see there.
Written by Daniel Noe, ChampionOfTheGalaxy.com