Brooker Creek Preserve is a park I’ve passed quite a few times but hadn’t turned in. I recently went with some family and was pretty impressed. We parked at the Environmental Education Center and went in. I’ve been in a bunch of park’s education centers, any of the rest would be hard pressed to match this one.
The first thing you notice is how cool and clean it is inside. There’s a nice little gift shop where you can buy reusable water bottles to fill up at thier water station. They don’t sell bottled water to help cut down on one use plastics. As of now the bottles are only a dollar and you can refill them with cold water as often as you like, so it’s a great deal.
The education center is interesting for adults, but aimed at kids. There are a lot of hand on areas where kids can pick things up, look at things under a microscope, and generally act like kids. There are doors to look behind, things to jiggle and move and buttons to push. There’s even a tunnel to crawl through with noises and more things to see inside. I was there with a 3 and a 4 year old for over an hour and they would have been very happy to stay longer.
There are two corner rooms with glass walls allowing you to see outside while rocking in rocking chairs. It’s a nice view and super relaxing. You can watch the people walking along the Ed Center Trail. Which is how I convinced my niece she wanted to go for a hike.
There are several trail to choose from at Brooker Creek Preserve. The one right outside the education center is the shortest, easiest trail. This trail alternated between a dirt pathway and elevated boardwalks. It’s a short walk that can loop back to the parking lot. Just watch the signs and where you are going because there are other paths that cross it that will lead you to taking a long path than you may want with little ones.
Both of the pictures below are on this path, but they remind me of a choose your adventure book.
There are four other trails of various lengths and also a bird path at the preserve. You can combine the trails and walk a four mile loop if you have a couple hours to kill. Look for the pamplets in the educaton center to see where each path is and what intersections to look for to get where you are trying to be.
The drive in to the education center is a little longer than you’d expect, be sure to drive slow and watch along the roadway for wildlife. We saw three turtles just on the drive out last time we were there.
There is no charge for entrance into the park and they offer a variety of nature walks that you can join that are also free. Take a look at Brooker Creek Preserve’s website under the ‘Plan Your Visit’ tab to see what nature hikes they have coming up and to register for them. To be honest I can’t believe how much they offer at this park.
Here’s what you need to know to play tourist:
3940 Keystone Road
Tarpon Springs, FL 34688