Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Wakulla County, Florida on a trip with 4 other Florida bloggers, sponsored by the county’s visitors bureau. Wakulla County is in north Florida, on the coast south of Tallahassee, about a 5 hour drive from my home just south of Tampa. I drove up on Thursday, our tour took place on Friday, and I drove home on Saturday. The other bloggers in our group were Brittany Minor from Clumps of Mascara, Wanda Ramos guest posting for Mamas Travel Tips, Lisa Samples of Life with Lisa, and Linda McDonald guest posting for Moscato Mom. Our tour guide for most of the trip was David Moody, an officer with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, who works at the St Marks National Wildlife Refuge and is a Wakulla County native.
If you love spending time in nature, or bird watching, Wakulla County is the place to be. Bird watching is the #1 tourist activity in the area with people coming from around the globe to see the over 300 species of migratory and nesting birds that spend time in the vast reserves. About 75% of the land in Wakulla County is state or nationally owned. Wakulla County is also know for its fresh seafood markets. We visited one for a quick tour. Nothing like getting your seafood fresh off the boat! While we were there we saw plenty of shrimp and several kinds of snapper just waiting to go home with someone.
The first stop on our tour was at Gulf Specimen Marine Lab. Jack Rudloe founded Gulf Specimen in 1963 as a supplier of marine animals to college and university science departments and research labs. Today they are an integral part of numerous research programs all over the United States, Canada and Europe. In the 1980s as interest in marine biology increased, Gulf Specimen became an educational center as well as a supplier. Currently their work impacts about 100,000 students each year who either visit Gulf Specimen on field trips, visit the SeaMobile at schools and festivals, or receive specimens in their classrooms.
We spent a few hours at Gulf Specimen and we especially enjoyed the touch tanks. We got to touch hermit crabs, starfish, sea urchin, and horseshoe crabs. we also saw nurse sharks, southern rays, cobia, and eels. There is also a turtle rehab area at Gulf Specimen. All of the sea turtles at the facility are be rehabilitated to be released back into the wild except one, she is blind and will remain in captivity for the rest of her life, for her own safety.
We enjoyed lunch at Posey’s Up the Creek. Posey’s is about as laid back and nondescript a place as I have ever been but the food was wonderful! They brought us several appetizers to try including blue crab claws, fried gator bites, and fried jumbo lump crabmeat. I am not a big seafood person but I tried it all, of course, the gator was my favorite. For lunch I ordered the fried shrimp sandwich. It was a lot of bread so I deconstructed it and just ate the shrimp drizzled with their homemade ranch dressing, it was delicious! David, our tour guide ordered the flounder, that thing was huge!
Next week I’ll be writing about the rest of our day in Wakulla County! Make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss that post!