When you’re tired of the theme parks and you fancy visiting somewhere peaceful and relaxing, then why not head to Shingle Creek Nature Reserve in Kissimmee, Florida. This beautiful conservation area houses a stunning array of wildlife spread across 456 acres.
You will find orange groves, several trails, lakes, kids play area and many well placed benches scattered throughout the park. Make sure you take your camera like I did, be ready to capture some memorable wildlife close encounters!
If you are staying on the Veranda Palms Resort you will be literally 5 minutes’ walk away from the Shingle Creek Nature Reserve which is a welcome break from the hectic parks and attractions. Shingle Creek is a haven for wildlife and a wonderful place to take a peaceful walk or jog during your holiday in Kissimmee. You can even hire kayaks, canoes and paddle boards to enjoy the park form the water. Shingle Creek is located either side of the 192 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, and if its not within walking distance of your villa then driving there is easy. Upon arrival there is Free ample parking for visitors on either side of the 192 and also Free poo bags for all the dog owners (providing no excuses for leaving any mess).
Shingle Creek Wildlife and Information
The information boards positioned at both entrances to Shingle Creek offer aerial birds eye views, showing the size and length of the different trails. Some of the wildlife you can expect to see on your travels includes the North American River Otter, American Alligator, Yellow-Bellied Slider, White-Tailed Deer and Great Blue Heron are also pictured on the board.
During one of my visits to Shingle Creek I was by the waters edge listening to the birds and unfamiliar noises when two Great Blue Herons glided down and gracefully landed nearby, they proceeded to fish and were oblivious to me while I captured this impressive bird in action. I must confess, I was initially looking for alligators but had to settle with seeing them at SeaWorld!
I did manage to capture several other wildlife encounters including what I believed to be a Corn Snake which was basking in the mid-day sun, recharging in plain sight on the path. I had previously read up on what colours to look out for and according to my limited knowledge it was harmless but I wasn’t going to get close enough to find out!
Walking slowly and tuning into the birds and other noises you soon found yourself spotting more animals including Rabbits, Lizards, Grey Squirrels, Northern Cardinal and the unmissable Red Bellied Woodpecker making a very distinctive tapping noise on the tree trunks.
I was told by the caretaker of the park and some local people walking their dogs you can see deer and even wild boar early in the mornings or late at night, the more you visit the more you seem to see. The Creek boasts many outdoor activities including places to fish, people cycling past on bikes and also paddling by in canoes.
Shingle Creek Facilities:
- Several Historic Buildings including the 1890 Shingle Creek Cabin, 1915 Citrus Operation at Babb Landing,
- Information Kiosks
- Handicap Parking
- Visitor Car Parks
- Canoe/Kayak Launch Area
- Paddle Trail Rest Stop
- Several Park Benches
- Fishing Dock
- Bike Racks
- Picnic Area
- Several Trails
Shingle Creek Nature Reserve covers a vast 456 acres, the photos above cover only a small part of this fantastic wildlife sanctuary. On all my visits I’ve got to say the park looked immaculate on each occasion. After speaking to the park caretaker and several local people who visit the park daily, you soon realise why they have so much passion and pride in such a beautiful park. If you’re lucky enough to be nearby then make sure you pay a visit, its well worth the trip… You never know what you might see, just remember to have your camera at hand!
Directions to Shingle Creek Nature Reserve
Shingle Creek Regional Park is easy to find, its located just off the 192, you can park on either side and soon be strolling in wonderful countryside surrounded by an abundance of wildlife.
Below the address for both sites:
2491 Babb Road,
Kissimmee, FL 34746
4266 W. Wine Street
Kissimmee, FL 34741
October through to March: 8am to 5pm and April through September: 8am to 7pm.
Shingle Creek Nature Reserve Partners
The conservation of this park would not be possible without the support from the following:
- City of Kissimmee Parks and Recreation Department
- Osceola County Historical Society
- Environmental Lands Conservation Program
- South Florida Water Management District
- Trust for Public Land
- Florida Greenways and Trails
- Florida Communities Trust