We love Treaty Park. This is a 47 acre St. John's County park off of Wildwood Drive. There is a playground, baseball fields, tennis courts, a soccer field, a skate park, a walking/biking trail that is almost a mile long, a pond, a dog park, and so much more.
I sit in the soft artificial grass at the playground while my children play. When they get hungry and hot we can eat snacks under the pavilion. My toddlers bring cheerios to feed the turtles, ducks and fish at the pond. After cooling off, my older boys climb the large trees, search for insects, and expend their energy running in the fields.
This is a beautiful place to fly a kite or bird watch. There is a large nest (We saw a raptor but can not confirm that it is an eagle) on top of one of the large baseball field spotlights. We have seen red shouldered hawks, Anhinga, Vultures, cardinals, red bellied woodpeckers, swallow-tailed kites, mockingbirds, and bluebirds.
Recently we encountered an amazing Gopher Tortoise while near the walking trail. He was surprisingly fast. Gopher Tortoises are a protected species. They dig large burrows that they share as homes to more than 350 other species, making them a keystone animal. We felt very fortunate to meet the tortoise my boys affectionately named "Speedy."
Other notable creatures we have seen are softshell turtles, red eared sliders, a small two foot alligator, and a juvenile water moccasin. The last two species are listed on a posted sign proclaiming "Danger! Reptiles in Area." We did not see any dangerous reptiles for many months, but as long time residents of Florida, we treat every body of water as if it contains an alligator.
When we saw the alligator we did not feed the turtles. It is a misdemeanor to feed alligators and he seemed quite friendly. I'm sure he felt happy to have discovered this mecca of food. We have not seen him since that day. I can only assume that he was relocated by the FWC. They will remove an alligator under 4 feet if they are a danger to pets or people.
Treaty Park is a great way to spend a cool Florida afternoon. It's so much more than just a place to play on a playground.
Spring was slow to arrive this year. Tender shoots and beautiful flowers seemed to spring up over night. My little ones took a walk with me searching for flowers while the older boys were at school. They guided me toward lovely weeds in overgrown yards and delighted at carefully cultivated plants in pots.
It reminded me to look at the weeds as more than unwanted vegetation. The wild things that bloom free and unaided are gifts for us. I love to find dandelions and disperse the seeds with a simple puff of air. My kids squeal with delight to watch the little tufts float away like bubbles.
The flowers are spectacular and a simple reminder to stop and see the beauty of the world wherever you may be.