If you're looking for an island adventure where nature, history and a white sand beach come together, now is the perfect time to discover Egmont Key State Park.
On Saturday and Nov. 15, visitors can explore the barrier island, watch Civil War re-enactors, tour the historic guardhouse, and take a rare look inside of the lighthouse that has been guiding ships in and out of Tampa Bay for more than 150 years. Hosted by the Egmont Key Alliance, this annual event is called Discover the Island.
Barbara Schmidt, who serves as Egmont Key's volunteer researcher and historian, believes every aspect of the island is special and invites everyone to experience it.
"Egmont Key is an island that offers something for everyone and is only accessible by boat. This is a once-a-year opportunity to visit the island and enjoy a wonderful unique walk down brick roads that provide a special look at nature and history along the way," Schmidt said.
Only at this event are visitors allowed inside the lighthouse or the guardhouse. It is also the only time of year the museum and gift shop are open, Schmidt said.
The cost for the event is $15 for adults and for children 12 and older (11 and younger are free). It includes round-trip boat transportation from Fort De Soto Park out to the island. The shuttle service will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the last boat returning from the island at 4 p.m. both days. Tickets can be purchased in advance.
Discover the Island is a self-guided tour that offers a series of 11 interpretive sites for visitors to experience. A few of the sites include the mine casement, nature sites and a visit to Battery McIntosh, where there will be children's games, including a treasure hunt. Other activities include a silent auction, an informative talk on the history of the Egmont Key Lighthouse, and presentations inside the renovated guardhouse.
This fundraising effort for the Egmont Key Alliance helps support the island for any special needs and educate the public about the importance of the island, both historically and environmentally.
"Egmont Key not only has hundreds of years of history, but it is nesting grounds for sea turtles, shore birds, endangered and threatened. (It) is home to hundreds of gopher tortoises and box turtles that are unique, as they have been disconnected from the mainland for thousands of years," Schmidt said.
Art Arbor: Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve present an autumn festival with arts and crafts vendors, live music, a food court, plant sale, wildlife presentations and environmental exhibits, guided tours of the park, and children's activities. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. $2 suggested donation. Call (727) 893-7326.
Historic Roser Park Fine Art and Craft Festival: Fine art and fine crafts. Also garden tours, children's art activities, live jazz, pet adoptions, food and a raffle. Free parking at Bayfront Medical Center parking garage with transport to the festival. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Historic Roser Park neighborhood, along the banks of Booker Creek on Roser Park Drive S (714 Roser Park Drive), St. Petersburg. $1 donation, proceeds benefit the Brookwood Home for Girls. Call (727) 772-3860 or visit roserpark.net.
Raccoon Run: The 5K run and 1-mile fun run/walk is part of the Art Arbor festival that benefits the Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. No pets allowed. 9 a.m. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. $15 to $20 for the 5K, $12 to $15 for the 1-mile run/walk. Call (727) 893-7326.
SPIFFS International Folk Fair: Ethnic villages represent each participating country. Costumed villagers demonstrate craftsmanship and prepare food specialties. Folk dancing and music performed daily. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Albert Whitted Park, 480 Bayshore Drive, St. Petersburg. $8, 12 and younger free with paid adult. Call (727) 552-1896 or visit spiffs.org.
Ballroom dancing with the Rhythm Kings: A four-piece band will play while you dance the night away. 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Pinellas Park Senior Citizens Center, 7625 59th St. N. $3, $2 center members. Call (727) 541-0776.
Annual Members Exhibition at Salt Creek Artworks: Exhibit of works by the studio's artists, continues through Saturday. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Salt Creek Artworks, 1600 Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg. Free. Call (727) 894-2653.
Arabian Nights Show: Bay area belly dance troupes, soloists and musicians present "Day of the Dead." Doors open at 5 p.m., dinner buffet served at 7. The show starts at 8. Bar viewing also available. St. Petersburg Nights, 6800 Sunset Way, St. Pete Beach. $8 admission, $15 additional for buffet. Call (727) 363-3832 or visit online at www.hip-expressions.com.
11:11, Let There Be Light, Sound, Art: An interactive multimedia event with live painting by Alex Grey and Allyson Grey, performances, music, local and international artists, light installations, drumming, and hands-on creativity. Each night offers something different. 6 p.m. Continues through Friday. First Unity Church, 460 46th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $44 to $111. Call (727) 527-2222 or visit 1111event.org.
Coffee talk: Aimed at people 55 and older, Nan Colton's "Steuben Glass, Short Stories Seen in the Collection" tour, with refreshments. 10:30 a.m. to noon. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. Included with admission. (727) 896-2667. fine-arts.org.
Leslie Dill's Opera, Divide Light: The film by Ed Robbins brings together the many threads of Dill's interests over the years. 2 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. Included with admission. Call (727) 896-2667.
Business counseling by SCORE: Business counseling sessions by SCORE are free. 10 a.m. to noon. St. Petersburg Business Assistance Center, 440 Second Ave. N. For registration or information, call (727) 893-7146 or go to stpete.org/bac.
Tea dance: An afternoon dance with live mixed music by Bruce Ralg Band. Noon to 2 p.m. Gladden Park Recreation Center, 3901 30th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $5. Call (727) 893-7458.
Tampa Bay Home Show: Get everything you need to remodel or improve your home under one roof (or in this case, dome). Includes tips, supplies and demos by and from industry experts. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tropicana Field, 1 Stadium Drive, St. Petersburg. $3 entry, parking free. Call (727) 893-8523 or visit
Ribfest: Some of the best rib cookers in the world gather for this weekend celebration featuring barbecued food, music by national touring artists, BMX action stunt shows, a classic and custom car show, and kids activities. Many bands are scheduled to appear. Begins at 11 a.m. today, Saturday and Sunday. Vinoy Park, Fifth Avenue NE and North Shore Drive, St. Petersburg. $10 advance, $15 at gate, 12 and under free with paid adult. Call (727) 528-3828 or visit ribfest.org.
Zumba Bash III: Five instructors lead this fast-paced, all-ages workout with prizes, raffles, salsa lessons and more. $7, $5 for 15 and younger. Fossil Park Recreation Center, 6635 Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. 6 p.m. Call (727) 437-8004.
Art in the Park: Dozens of local artists display works in a variety of mediums; with live music. Leashed pets welcome. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Williams Park, Fourth Street and First Avenue N, St. Petersburg. Free admission. (727) 804-6993.
Downtown Art Walk: St. Petersburg Downtown Arts Association gallery tour. Enjoy a festive evening of art, guest artists and art-related events. Visit a variety of participating galleries from 30th Street to the downtown waterfront. 5 to 8:30 p.m. Central Avenue, downtown. Free. (727) 323-2787. stpetearts.org.
Downtown Saturday Morning Market: More than 100 local vendors, including farmers and growers with fresh produce, as well as gourmet foods. Also crafts, prepared foods, live music and entertainment, flowers, plants and more. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Progress Energy Park/Al Lang Field, 180 Second Ave. SE, St. Petersburg. Free admission (items individually priced). (727) 455-4921. saturday
Suncoast Swingers Dinner Show: "There's Something About Swing" celebrates some of America's greatest songwriters and lyricists. Includes the music of Porter, Berlin, Carmichael, Ellington and others. Dinner at 5:30 p.m., concert at 7. Faith Presbyterian Church, 11501 Walker Ave. N, Seminole. $25, $16 concert only. Call (727) 399-0599 or visit suncoastsingers.com.
'Visual Unity' discussion: Artists who participated in the "Visual Unity" exhibition share their thoughts on the process of making art with others. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free admission. Call (727) 822-7872 or visit theartscenter.org.
If you go
Discover the Island
When: Saturday and Nov. 15
Where: Egmont Key, by way of Fort De Soto Park, 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde.
Getting to the island: Shuttle boats will leave Fort De Soto Park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a regular schedule, with the last boat returning from the island at 4 p.m.
Admission: $15, 11 and younger free. Tickets can be purchased in advance or are available the day of the event.
For more information, directions, or to buy tickets: Visit egmontkey.info or call (727) 481-8230.