If your weekend mornings are typically hectic, a quiet communing with nature might be the break you need.
Boyd Hill Nature Preserve offers monthly bird walks where visitors can grab a pair of binoculars and observe some of Florida's majestic winged wonders while absorbing the beauty of spring's blooms.
"It's a chance to get away from the hustle-bustle of city life and enjoy one of the true outdoor jewels of Pinellas County," said park volunteer Ron Smith of St. Petersburg.
Led by knowledgeable guides, the free informal walks let visitors explore five habitats and observe as many as 40 species of birds, both native and migratory.
Sightings this time of year could include a duck species or two, like the lesser scaup, perching birds such as the gray catbird and quite possibly a magnificent bald eagle.
"Bald eagles nest near the park and are usually spotted during each bird walk. They are the walk's show-stopper," Smith said.
The next outing is Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m. and is open to visitors of all ages. Advance registration is not necessary; just show up at the front door of the visitors center at Boyd Hill at least 10 minutes early.
The preserve, at 1101 Country Club Way S in St. Petersburg, is nestled along the banks of Lake Maggiore and is sure to provide plenty of photo ops. So volunteers suggest that visitors bring along a camera.
"You do not have to be a birder to enjoy this outing," said Judi Hopkins, one of three volunteers leading this weekend's walk. "I recommend these excursions to anyone who loves the outdoors. Not only will they learn about birds, plants, etc., they will more than likely walk away with new friends."
Hopkins has been birding since 1978 and usually stays near the back of the group to help visitors focus their binoculars on the birds and to share tips on how to identify them.
Smith has been birding since 1988. Like most serious birders, he keeps a tally, referred to as a life list, of all the species he has sighted. To date, his list includes 636 species identified in North America. He has been a volunteer at Boyd Hill for two decades and has led more than 160 bird walks.
Smith said he has noticed a significant increase in hobbyists in the past 20 years.
"More and more people are looking for things to do that gets them back to nature," he said. "Birding fills that void. But be careful; it's a hobby that can become addictive."
For information, call (727) 893-7326.
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg: The Izod IndyCar Series race speeds off at 3:45 p.m. Come early for family fun in the Bright House Speed Zone, featuring a racing simulator, clowns, face painting, video games, rock climbing and remote-controlled cars. Gates open at 8 a.m. Downtown, Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 898-4639 or visit gpstpete.com for tickets.
Paint World Peace: Painters of all ages are invited to a weekend of drawing, painting and creating their image of what world peace looks like or symbolizes to them. The mass mural will then be installed at the Great Explorations Children's Museum for public show. Participants must attend all sessions. Lunch provided. 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Great Explorations, 1925 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Free. Call (727) 821-8992.
Rocking concert: St. Petersburg's RockShop Show-Band Performance School presents the RockShop Revue Spring Concert 2010. The concert is the culmination of 12 weeks of hard work by talented young area students. 7 p.m. Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $12. Call (727) 822-3590.
Spring Bonnet Tea: Women are invited for tea and fun. Wear your prettiest, funniest or most unusual hat for a bonnet contest. Includes a tour of the historical clubhouse. 2 to 4 p.m. St. Petersburg Woman's Club, 40 Snell Isle Blvd. NE. $10. Call (727) 823-2088.
Spring break camp: Full- or half-day classes for kindergarten age and older at the Science Center of Pinellas County. Program hours are 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:30 p.m. with breaks in the morning and afternoon. Before care begins at 8:30 a.m.; after-care is from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Science Center, 7701 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $40 per day, $30 for members; $30 half-day, $20 half-day for members. Call (727) 384-0027 to register.
Hot Off the Press, A Reading Series for New Plays: Lone Wolves, a play by Phillip Hall. 7 p.m. American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theater, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. Free admission. Call (727) 823-7529.
Boker Movement class: Boker Movement combines awareness-based Feldenkrais movement, resistive band work, yoga asanas and kundalini yoga in a whole-body workout to tone and help in weight loss. Presented by Noa Spector-Flock. Bring a yoga mat if you have one. 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $7 per class, $20 per week, $75 per month, no one turned away for inability to pay. Call (727) 895-6620.
Jungle Boogie: Walks in the preserve and crafts to help children ages 3-5 learn about Florida ecosystems, animals and plants. 11:15 a.m. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg. $2.50 per child, parents free. Call (727) 893-7326.
Quizo trivia night: Take part in three rounds of trivia and a bonus round. The event is free; food and drinks are extra. The game will be hosted by "Danny Mac," formerly of Grace O'Malley's. 7 p.m. Madeleina Cottage Restaurant, 357 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach. Call (727) 367-1727 or visit madeleinacottage.us.
Florida Orchestra Guild of St. Petersburg Designers Showhouse: Features two units that take up the entire 20th floor of the luxury condo building Ovation. Benefits the Florida Orchestra. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ovation Condominium, 180 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. $10 advance, $15 at the door. Call (727) 365-1007 or visit floridaorchestra.org.
Gulfport First Friday Art Walk: Expanded art village with arts and craft vendors, antique dealers, art demonstrations, live entertainment and 20-minute classes in glass blowing at the Industrial Arts Center. Free trolley rides, pet friendly. 6 to 10 p.m. In the Gulfport Art District, south of 28th Avenue, on Beach Boulevard. Free. Call (727) 322-5217.
Indian Rocks Beach fun: Start the day with a hearty pancake breakfast (7:30 to 11 a.m.) at the Beach Art Center, 1515 Bay Palm Blvd. The citywide celebration, Beauty and the Beach, continues with a running event, outdoor fine arts, crafts and live music, family activities, food and a chalk walk along Bay Palm Boulevard. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kolb Park, Bay Palm Boulevard, two blocks east of Gulf Boulevard between 15th and 16th Avenues. Free. Call (727) 596-4331 or visit the Web site beachartcenter.org.
Free prom dresses: Girls with financial need can get one free prom dress. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Seminole Mall, 11201 Park Blvd. Call (727) 392-8174 or visit belleoftheballproject.com.
Easterfest: Nonstop pony rides, an Easter egg hunt with prizes, hayrides, face painting, crafts, a petting zoo, the Easter Bunny and entertainment. $10 wristband for children. St. Anne of Grace Episcopal Church, 6650 113th St. N, Seminole. Call (727) 392-4483.
Underwater Easter Egg hunt: Bring a basket or a bag and scoop up prize-filled eggs in the pool. 10 a.m. St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive. $2 (includes swimming after the event). Call (727) 363-9264.