Lake Apopka from Oakland

At the annual Oakland Heritage & Wildlife Festival today we had lots of craft and other tents to visit, as well as the Llama …

We also got tickets for a boat ride on Lake Apopka, with very interesting talks about the ongoing recovery of the once very polluted lake – as well as great views!

A nice day out!

If you prefer, a video presentation!

Lion Country

We visited Lion Country today; it’s a lot closer than Longleat but it’s not quite as spectacular as that English country estate location – for one thing, the lions at Lion Country are behind additional fencing that somewhat spoils the view. Perhaps it should be called Wild Country instead, to emphasize the other animals – of which there were many and interesting ones.

In comparison with Disney Animal Kingdom, Lion Country offers more chances to see and take photos of the animals since you’re driving your own vehicle at your own pace, rather than being driven in a Disney vehicle (and those Disney vehicles rarely stop long enough for a good photo!)

So, here’s a selection of the photos we took – including near the end where we feed a Giraffe with $2 lettuce leaves …

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

[pronounced “sloo”!]

A trip to a nature preserve today led us first to an impressive heron sculpture, part of the parking lot with a wing giving cover to a seating area!

From parking, a boardwalk took us through flooded Florida swamp with really still water for reflection photos, and eventually to various lakes:

Various wildlife too – here’s photos of a small turtle on a fallen branch, and a much bigger one in the distant water:

Later, we spotted our only Alligator, half of it at least, on a log with another turtle …

Tried to take photos of fish too – hard with the reflections, but a couple came out (the long skinny fish is a Florida Gar, the other might be a catfish – there were many of these, all in dug outs in the sand, or even what appeared to be tunnels/caves in the sand!)

Eagles and Gators at Oakland Nature Preserve

We enjoy visiting Oakland Nature Preserve with its boardwalk through “wild Florida swamp” to Lake Apopka; we also enjoy visiting The Avian Reconditioning Center where Owls, Eagles, and other birds of prey are looked after either to release back to the wild after injury, or permanently kept if they are not well enough to survive in the wild.

This past weekend, ARC visited Oakland and we got to see both at the same time! First a presentation from ARC including a Barred Owl, Swallowtail Kite, Osprey, and Bald Eagle:


Later, we took the boardwalk down to Lake Apopka – and spotted six young / small alligators in the swamp either side – very cute!