Getting hands on experience is one of the biggest perks when you attend the festival.

By Makenzie Atkins

If you are looking for a fun and educational outing, you might want to look into this year’s Florida Birding and Nature Festival. TECO’s Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach will be hosting the festival from Friday, October 15 to Sunday, October 17.

The festival is three days of learning with opportunities to visit different wildlife sites, some of which are normally closed off to the public. The festival takes place during the peak migration of more than 180 species, those registered will get to learn all about them from scientists who know them best.

“The Florida Birding and Nature Festival highlights the special wildlife habitats of the Tampa Bay region with trips to extraordinary natural areas across the six-county region,” said Ann Paul, president of the Florida Birding and Nature Festival.

Some of the sites the festival will visit are: the Cross Bar Ranch in Spring Hill, Egmont Key, Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve, Hillsborough River and more. The group will also be visiting Shultz Preserve to learn about butterflies, other insects and birds.

Not only is the group doing in-person activities, but this year you can also register to be apart of talks via Zoom. The number of people who can sign up for the Zoom is unlimited and includes 14 scientific seminars.

“Festival seminars are by the best scientists about the animals they know the most about. Key Notes by Tampa Bay Times investigative reporter Craig Pittman and venerable birder and nature photographer Clay Taylor will be engaging and inspiring,” said Paul.

Along with gaining access to the knowledge from many nature enthusiasts, there will also be an area to do some shopping while you learn. The Nature Expo will feature two binocular/optics sellers, bird and wildlife art and merchandise and environmental education exhibits by conservation agencies and groups.

The festival’s administration recommends purchasing the $150 ticket soon to secure your spot for the field trips of your choosing. However, ticket purchases are available even during the festival.

For more information, please contact Andee Richards, an administrator of Florida’s Birding and Nature Festival, at 444-0115 or or visit

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