Florida Wildlife Festival Guided and Self Guided Tours

Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway
Tour at 12:00 P.M.

“From the Land Nobody Wanted to the Land of Many Uses" On November 24, 1908, when President Teddy Roosevelt declared the Ocala area a National Forest in 1908, many people referred to it as the land nobody wanted.” The land in this area was indeed a harsh, unforgiving place for humans to live. Roosevelt designated 202,000 acres of scrub as the Ocala National Forest, creating the first National Forest east of the Mississippi River, and the second National Forest within the continental United States. Today, people enjoy the “many uses” of this lush area, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hunting, camping, and touring historical areas. The Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway shows new generations the route into the heart of wild Florida.

NOTE: Persons must be able to travel on natural terrain for ½ mile hike and bug spray will be provided.

Wildflowers Wildflowers in Lake County Tour
Conserve, Preserve and Protect

Looking for ways to help protect native wildflowers? Wildflower-friendly mowing practices are a great way to preserve Florida’s wildflowers. Numerous counties throughout the state, including Lake County, have passed resolutions to increase awareness and protection of roadside wildflowers through reduced mowing programs.

Another way to help preserve Florida’s native wildflower population is to eliminate the introduction of invasive plant species, which can inhibit the ability of native plants to flourish. It’s also important to the delicate balance of native ecosystems to preserve pollinators and their habitats by limiting the use of pesticides and herbicides in gardens and landscapes.

For more information about Florida’s native wildflowers, or ways to get involved, visit the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s website at www.FlaWildflowers.org, or visit the Florida Native Plant Society’s website at www.fnps.org

Photo Credit: Sue Carroll

River ToursLearn about the History and wildlife of Astor and The St. Johns River

Depart from Blackwater Inn in historic Astor for a leisure boat tour to the many tributaries of the St. Johns River. Where you will experience exotic plant and wildlife steeped in history dating back to ancient Indian and Spanish civilizations.

On your St. Johns River eco tour you will experience wildlife, alligators, bald eagles, manatees, and plant life, air plants, ferns large cypress trees and much more. Learn the history of the River from the Indians to the European and American settlers.

The role the river played in the Seminole Indian Wars and the civil war. Being close to Orlando allows for a day trip back into an area where it is Old Florida at its best. Or stay overnight in a camp cabin or motel (see accommodations under links) and enjoy an extended tour of the river (see tours & rates).

If you are staying in Astor at one of the river resorts use our water taxi to take you to a riverside restaurant for diner and a sunset cruise. Only one hour from The Villages and one hour from Orlando.

Florida Wildlife Festival
23 South Central Ave
P.O. Box 300
Umatilla, Florida USA 32784
Phone: (352) 669-3511 Fax: (352) 669-8900 ~ Email


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