Little Manatee River State Park in Wimauma, Florida has two entrances. North of the river directly off 301 is a 6.5 mile trail loop and primitive camping site. South of the river is where the main campground, playground, picnic areas, and more trails are. I have been many times and I usually visit the north.
Shortly after entering the woods, the trail splits. To the left it runs along a part of the river, sometimes overlooking it from high banks, other times running through boggy areas. This is where I have seen snakes, large turtles, centipedes, beautiful spiders, and many sweet flowers. To the right the trail runs through a dry area with several open places covered by either grass or palmetto. This is where I have seen birds, dragonflies, and a dead tree swarmed by dozens of bees. Once when visiting the south side of the river, I saw two bobcats in a tree! Even in the winter, I always find some animal life – even if it is only a distant vulture.
Even though I have been before, it seems I am always finding new things I never noticed before, such as trees with unique twists in them, single charred trees while nothing around them is burned, and trees in various states of decay. The last time I went, I saw a hollow stump I had never before noticed. Only the bark remained, greatly resembling puff pastry. I also saw several trees with swollen balls on their branches – and not all in the same part of the trail. Are they truly new? Or by noticing one was my mind primed to notice the others? I was also noticing the odd shapes of large flakes of wood scattered everywhere. What goes on when I’m not there?
215 Lightfoot Road, Wimauma, Florida
Written By Daniel Noe, WayOutLife.com
When I visited, I learned that the animals all have different quirks and temperaments. Some will hide their food bowls. Some are picky. The bear Stanley really seems to love his pool and pool toys. I learned there are many ways to support the sanctuary. Tour tickets can be bought in advance on their website and the revenue goes to care for the animals. In their online store they sell shirts printed with photographs of their favorite residents. You can also donate or volunteer.
13910 Seminole Trail, Wimauma, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, InkDoodler.com