LTRVD0357 Hundreds of Manatees

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We viewed Hundreds of Manatees when we visited the Tampa Electric Company (TECO) Big Bend power station this week. They were in the warm water of the facility’s discharge canal. When the Gulf of Mexico’s water temperature dips below 68 degrees F, the warm blooded manatees need to find warmer water. TECO has constructed a wonderful manatee viewing area where we took the pictures that accompany this show note. Admission and parking are free. Get more information at http://www.tampaelectric.com/company/mvc/

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There are actually over a hundred animals in view of this picture.

We also visited the Hillsborough River State Park which is quite close to our current location in Zephyrhills, FL. This is an old park with many improvements done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930’s. They have a really nice campground with many spaces large enough for 40 foot rigs and a few that can accommodate 45 foot rigs. It is a really kid friendly place with a huge swimming pool (check for open dates, and rentals of canoes, bicycles and 2 and 4-person tandem pedal cars. There is lots of history there as well. There are old forts used by the army during the Indian wars against the Seminole tribes. One has been restored and is open for tours several days a week. Check it out at http://www.floridastateparks.org/hillsboroughriver . We did a blog post on this park. Check it out at http://blog.livingthervdream.com/hillsborough-river-state-park/

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We also spent some time at the Lazy Days Campground while we visited with the folks at the Full-time Families 2016 Sweetheart Soiree Rally. Check them out at http://fulltimefamilies.com/ We were able to meet Kimberly Travaglino, founder of this wonderful group that is an awesome support group for folks full-timing with kids and homeschooling them on the road. Kathy got to tour some of their rigs to see how they have adapted them for doing the schooling and just living with 3 or 4 or more young children. We had a good time with them and we will interview Kimberly at a later date.

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Hillsborough River State Park

Hillsborough River State Park was our destination today. It is quite near to us here in Zephyrhills. Its located between I-75 and Zephyrhills on US Route 301. We to0ok a lot of pictures, but not in the campground. We want to preserve people’s privacy.

Official Park Information
Opened in 1938, Hillsborough River State Park is one of Florida’s first state parks. This original CCC Park is divided by the swiftly flowing Hillsborough River with a set of Class II rapids. The river provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. A canoe/kayak launch is available at parking lot #4. The concession provides canoe, bike and golf cart rentals, breakfast and lunch menus, camping and picnic supplies, and a variety of memorable souvenirs. For rates and hours of operation, please contact the Hillsborough Park Pool Side Cafe at (813) 986-3322, or via their web page. https://www.floridastateparks.org/park-activities/Hillsborough-River#Concession-and-Restaurant Hikers can walk over seven miles of nature trials. Note: The Wetlands Restoration Trail accommodates both bicyclists and hikers only. When the weather calls for it, visitors can enjoy a refreshing swim in the park’s ADA accessible swimming pool.

Park Amenities
Picnic areas, pavilions, several playgrounds, the Pool Side Café and Gift Shop, and an ADA-accessible, half-acre swimming pool, are located within the park. Many trails offer visitors the opportunity to experience the park’s natural beauty. A popular trail is the Rapids Nature Trail. It meanders through oak hammocks to the edge of the Hillsborough River at the point where an outcropping of limestone rocks has created rapids. This area is a popular spot for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers canoe rentals for visitor’s convenience.
Swimming pool hours of operation are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, weather permitting. Please contact the park for swimming pool informational updates at (813) 987-6771. The park offers full-facility camping and a youth/group tent campground. A primitive campsite is available via foot trail; reservations are always recommended.

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We stopped for icecream and sat outside by the pool. This little critter sat on the table behind us looking at our food. Sorry Charlie, no ice cream for you.

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Camping at Hillsborough River State Park
Hillsborough River State Park offers RV and tent camping with electric on most of the campsites in the 112 site campground. Each site is equipped with water, a fire ring and picnic table. Each loop has restrooms with hot showers and laundry facilities. The campground offers a dump station for your convenience. Shopping for basic food items and merchandise is available at the park’s concession by the pool. Pets are welcome, but must be confined, leashed (up to six feet in length), or otherwise under the physical control at all times.
Maximum RV length = 50 ft. Hammocks are allowed to be used in certain campsites. Sites 41, 61, 110, and 111, allow one (1) hammock each, while sites 68 and 70 allow two (2) hammocks each. Set-up requires the use of straps at least 2 inches wide on trees at least 12 inches in diameter.

Camping Reservations
Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through Reserve America. http://floridastateparks.reserveamerica.com/ or call: (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.), or TDD (888) 433-0287.

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