Come Explore the Great Outdoors with us!
Mount Dora, FL Nature Trail
The other day we were lucky enough to get out and explore out great outdoors. At first the boys were not interested at all but once we pulled up and got out of the car and spotted an alligator it sparked immediate interest. While I was more on the nervous side because Kadie is at her peak curiosity of the world, I managed to control my emotions lol. I also had to remind myself that almost every lake in Florida has alligators so the fact that I could see this one gave me some comfort.
So we were off, we had our writing journals and cameras ready to explore nature! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I did know that it was nice to get out in the fresh air.
I have to say this was one of the coolest nature trails I have been to. The first half was this beautiful boardwalk that went along the waters edge. When we looked to our right it gave you a sense of calmness and peace. There were barely ripples in the water other than the occasional ducks or alligators swimming by. When we looked to our left you could see wildlife moving amongst their daily life not effected by our presents one bit. It was here that we found our first notable find. Had we not seen the mama bird flying past us we probably would not have noticed the bird nest way up there. I could only imagine their view would be equal to a New York skyline. From there we noticed that the tress were covered in Spanish moss. Even though we were only a few miles from our house there is nothing compared to these trees around us. Some were so decorated that you would have thought that was how the trees grew naturally. What was amazing is that is didn’t stop there. There were 100’s of tree root stumps along the shore with beautiful Lily Pads and Softstem Bulrush scattered along. It was here we found our next alligator siting. Can you spot the alligator? Tyler was the one to find it first. It took me a minute of staring and searching everywhere before I found it.
Once we explored the boardwalk we entered a nature trail that took you along gravel pathways and shade from trees 100’s of years old. There were some spots that were surround by swamp and others that had beautiful foliage that has inspired me to vamp up my garden. At one point we found a trail that was a little on the iffy side looking down to it and once we got to the end I understood why I had that feeling. I am assuming this is a local hangout of some sort, I also know that you won’t catch me there again. Check out the tree art we found at the end.
I challenged the kids to redraw the caterpillar so if you follow me on Instagram keep an eye out in my stories with how they do!
Once we got past the swamp land area we found some of the most beautiful foliage. There was a tree that had fallen over with all of its roots exposed. From the fallen trunk a new tree had sprouted showing that even though something has fallen you can get back up and shine again. There were ferns that covered the ground along most of the paths. Tyler had shown us all under the leaf of the fern where produced seeds. I was so proud of him at that moment for taking the time to share with us something he had learned. He typically keeps reserved and it’s like pulling teeth to get any information out of him. So once he shared that I knew he was really enjoying himself! I found an area that had Wondering jew. If you saw my instagram post in the beginning of march then you know this is one of my new favorites. The plant is so beautiful it’s as if God hand paints each leave so show its beauty. We found a two different philodendron plants. An area had natural formed ground cover of the Fiddle Leaf while the Red Emerald creeped up many of the trees. Of course we found the palm’s and live oaks, and vibrant Balm Cypress’s scattered around. The entire trail was so beautiful that it was nice to get away from everything and explore.
It was such a fun experience and perfect opportunity to make it enjoyable and educational for the kids during their virtual learning. Given they range so differently with their learning skills I was able to add a little bit of something for them all. Emily is really big into scavenger hunts so we made a list of 10 things for her to find which helped with her reading and writing, cognitive skills, and when came home we reviewed her list touching base on mathmatics. Her favorite finds were the three alligators, and believe it or not we only saw 2 squirrels. I was positive we would have found at least 10. Jaxson is so curious about everything right now that I had him focus on finding three things he wanted to learn more about. He chose to search “How long can trees live for? How much of Florida is covered in swamp land? and, Whats the difference between an alligator and crocodile?” Did you know trees can live for 5,000 years?! Mind-blowing I know. As for Tyler he is really big into art so I challenged him to recreate either a plant, tree or animal and give three facts about what he chose and why he chose it. While he normally would want to choose a gator because if you know him he is a diehard gator family he actually went for the Sabal Palm. His reasoning being it is our state tree therefore he wanted to know more about it. The fact that he knew it was out state tree impressed me enough- I surely didn’t know lol. But he learned that it can grow in almost any soil and is adaptable to salt water conditions. It makes sense why we have some many. Overall it was a great day and a great way to get out of the house and disconnect from social media. If you are someone that needs the fresh air but looking for privacy I recommend looking up your local nature trails. You never know what you’ll find!