Into the Wildlife Refuge

A lot of students know about the usual Tallahassee spots to visit with time off from classes. The Tallahassee Museum has its plethora of wild animals and zip lining. The Capitol has its own history and political roots. Lake Ella has food truck Thursdays to celebrate the local cuisine that Tallahassee natives pride themselves on. Missing in this list is a certain vast green landscape that will make you feel like you are in somewhere other than Florida. The wide-open views are spectacular, as are the the occasional flutter of monarchs and desolate alligator stares. This refuge is home to those Florida animals and more. Not many can say they have taken a trip over to visit the St. Mark’s Lighthouse and tour the Wildlife Refuge, but hopefully you can put it on your bucket list.

This beautiful place is located just south of the city of Tallahassee. The refuge was developed in 1931 while the lighthouse was constructed in the 1820s. It spans over 70,000 acres. The drive to this area takes about thirty minutes, depending on the traffic along the outskirts. On your trip down to the refuge, you can pass local shops and convenience stores.  The old Florida lifestyle can be observed with citizens relaxing in their homes and taking care of their shops.

The St. Mark’s Lighthouse is a historical feature. Built in the 1820s, this landmark acted as a vital port of entry for boaters. The construction of the lighthouse cost $6,000. Hurricanes and other strong storms have weathered the lighthouse, but it has survived such trauma since its original construction. The lighthouse remains active today, guiding vessels on the Apalachee Bay. It is aptly located on Lighthouse Road. From the visitor center, the drive to the actual lighthouse is seven miles.

The Wildlife Refuge is also an admirable aspect of this beautiful area. The vast saltwater and freshwater marshes support the life of the wild animals for further habitats to grow. The thick organic soil forms vegetation for the animals. On recent visits, guests could find alligators hiding along the marshes. Sunbathing and eating are what they do best. Posing for photos is another thing. Make sure you take a good look, but stay a far distance away from these mighty animals. Another find are the monarch butterfly migrators. These bright orange butterflies are making their way (all 2,500 miles) to Mexico, and stop along the St. Mark’s trails. Spotted and dotted, these butterflies are in abundance around the fall season before they move out.

While at this historic area, there are many activities for visitors to enjoy. The Florida National Scenic Trail is a great option for walking or biking. Fishing is also allowed here, as one can salt water fish along the Apalachicola Bay. Photography is a major point of interest for people visiting this area. Classes in photography are also offered and are encouraged for amateurs.  The phone number to contact is: 850-925-6121. Find out more information by visiting this website: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/St_Marks/