Many Hillsborough County parks and recreation centers have rooms and shelters available for residents to rent. Plant City’s Edward Medard Park has 10 shelters and many activities and is conveniently located to the Brandon area.

With summer approaching, many families are thinking about reunions, group BBQs and wedding and baby showers. It is not always easy to find the perfect location to host these events, but Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation can come to the rescue with 80 different indoor multipurpose rooms and outdoor shelters available to rent throughout the area, each offering different amenities and most with easy on-line reservations.

Many of the facilities, from picnic shelters at county parks with grills, electric hook-ups and close restrooms, to indoor meeting rooms with tables and chairs seating hundreds of people, are available to rent at reasonable prices only a short drive from the Brandon area.

One of the many options is Plant City’s Edward Medard Conservation Park. Residents can rent one of 10 picnic shelters of various sizes with grills, electric hook ups and restrooms and also have the option to enjoy the park’s 700-acre reservoir used for canoeing, boating and catch and release fishing. The park also boasts a three-mile trail, a disc golf course, beach volley courts, a playground, boardwalk and observation platform overlooking the reservoir.

Fees for the outdoor picnic shelters at Medard, and other locations throughout the county, are dependent on capacity, starting at $42.80 a day for the small 30-person shelters and ranging to $240.75 for the extra large shelters that fit up to 150 people. All shelter rentals must be made at least three business days in advance of the event and all rentals require payment at the time of reservation. Different parks have different amenities and different rules. Some allow bounce houses from approved vendors and some parks offer facilities such as playgrounds, volleyball nets, basketball and sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and swimming areas. It is important to read the information and park rules for the specific shelter chosen before reserving.

The county also offers indoor meeting rooms with tables and chairs at various locations for resident rental. Some rooms require up to two weeks advance notice for reservations and costs range from $85.60 an hour for a small capacity room, for up to 100 people, to $149.80 for an extra large room which can hold more than 250 people. Events with an expected attendance of 50 or more people must first complete a Special Event Application which can be obtained for the Parks Administration.

According to Hillsborough County’s Senior Special Event Coordinator Dana McDonald, the Brandon Recreation Center is one that can easily accommodate 300-350 people.

“We have several people say they love using the rec center for family reunions and graduations because it is centrally located and easy for family and friends to get to,” said McDonald. “There are outdoor areas with a playground, tennis courts and sand volleyball, which is unique to the park.”

To use the online reservation system, visit In person reservations can be made at All People’s Life Center in Tampa and the Branchton Conservation Office in Thonotosassa. Email or call 272-5900.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.