The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay will be hosting the Wonders of Wildlife Marketplace on Saturday, March 16. This is a free, family-friendly event.

The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay (RCTB) is a nonprofit organization operated by volunteers that is working to build a wildlife rehabilitation facility in East Hillsborough County. The organization rescues and rehabilitates more than 1,000 birds and other animals each year with a goal of releasing them back into the wild.

RCTB is hosting the Wonders of Wildlife Marketplace on Saturday, March 16, from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Hogan’s Place located at 7023 Gibsonton Dr. in Gibsonton. This free, fun, family event will have a variety of local vendors, food and music, plus an opportunity to meet the ambassador birds from RCTB.

Although the entrance to the event is free, it is a fundraising opportunity to support RCTB to help cover the ongoing costs of its work. Some of the vendors at the market will be Wild Planet Creations, Bizbee Prior Art, Simpatico Silver, Blue Pearl Vet Specialists and more.  

Nancy Murrah is the president of the Raptor Center as well as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, and she is excited about the upcoming community event.

“The marketplace has all kinds of opportunities to buy cool nature-related stuff, good food and see our animal ambassador birds of prey,” said Murrah. “Hogan’s has farm animals, too.”

Murrah said there will be a large variety of birds at the event including Zoe’ the Red-Tailed Hawk, Charlie the Great Horned Owl, Carmen and Moonpie, Eastern Screech Owls and possibly a Crested Caracara.

But Murrah said that she is most looking forward to debuting RCTB’s children’s book, I Can Save The Planet. Purchases of this book, along with other donations, all go toward supporting RCTB wildlife rescue services.

“Wildlife organizations do not receive any public funding,” said Murrah. “We are a 501(c)(3), and the amount of issues wildlife is having has increased exponentially.”

In addition, RCTB is holding a fundraiser on Saturday, April 6, at Three Bulls Tavern.

“From 1-4 p.m., the owners are donating a percentage of their profits to the Raptor Center,” said Murrah. “Additionally, if patrons identify that they are there with the Raptor Center, they will receive a discount on their meal.” 

For more information, call Murrah at 813-205-1851, go to or visit the Raptor Center of Tampa Bay’s Facebook page.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.