Make us your home page
Instagram

Take it Outside Planner: Identifying seashells, Florida caverns, lock up valuables

SEASHELL HUNT: Know your beach denizens

As you hit the beach this summer, dazzle your out-of-town visitors with a little knowledge of what those pretty shells scattered on the shore actually are. If you don't know your beaded periwinkle from a fighting conch, you should. And it's pretty easy to identify Florida seashells once you call up the vast gallery of thumbnail pictures at seashells.org or shellmuseum.org, the wesbsite of the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum in Sanibel. The Shell Museum has more than two dozen permanent exhibits that detail everything from shells' history as the oldest known currency to their inspiration found in fine art and architecture. The museum, 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with live tank talks. $11, $5 for children 5 to 17 years old, free for 4 and younger. If you are in Sanibel, make sure you stop by the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, one of the country's largest undeveloped mangrove systems, best known for its amazing array of seabirds.

SPOTLIGHT: Florida Caverns State Park

About an hour northwest of Tallahassee in Marianna, Florida Caverns State Park, with its deep underground caverns, is the only state park in Florida to offer cave tours to the public. Even on a hot summer day, there's a bit of a chill. Or maybe that's from the goose bumps you get when you see the dazzling formations of limestone, like nature's draperies. The Chipola River and Blue Hole spring provide areas for fishing, canoeing and boating. Guided cave tours are offered Thursday through Monday for a 45-minute hike that is moderately strenuous. Call ahead to (850) 482-1228 to make sure tours have not sold out for that day. Camping reservations may be made at reserveamerica.com or toll-free 1-800-326-3521. Park admission is $5 per vehicle, and cave tours are $8 per person, $5 for ages 3 to 12. floridastateparks.org.

GO DARK: KIWANIS MIDNIGHT RUN

One of the prettiest night runs of the year is the Kiwanis Midnight Run 10K along Causeway Boulevard in Dunedin, with a turnaround in Honeymoon Island State Park. The race starts just after midnight Sunday (technically Monday at 12:15 a.m.), making it an Independence Day run. The course is flat and lit by more than 700 luminarias, and the air is about as cool as it gets for this time of year. Shorter races on Sunday begin at 11 p.m. (1-mile) and 11:25 p.m. (5K). Proceeds benefit numerous area children's charities. $8-$45. (813) 833-5511. kiwanismidnightrun.com.

GREAT GEAR: Locking up valuables

It can be tough to keep up with a wallet or phone when you're trying to play in the surf or struggling with a big catch at the end of a fishing line. The Beach Vault is one of the more clever gadgets to come along to provide some security by burying your valuables underground. The plastic container is shaped like an oversized screw. Drop in your belongings and twist the vault into the sand. Cover it up with your beach blanket and no one will know you've got your stuff stashed away safely. $39 at thebeachvault.com.

Take it Outside Planner: Identifying seashells, Florida caverns, lock up valuables 06/29/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 10:38am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Glen Campbell's wife Kim discusses challenges, guilt caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, others face

    Life Times

    If there's one thing Kim Campbell would change about caregiving for Alzheimer's patients, it's the attitude so many of us have toward transferring a loved one from home to a long-term care facility. According to Campbell, it's often the most kind, loving decision you can make. It's not a sign of failure, but one of …

    Kim Campbell, wife of country music legend Glen Campbell, is acknowledged by those attending the free event where she shared the story of her personal journey with Alzheimer???‚??„?s disease and the struggles she faced caring for her husband on Friday (5/26/17) at the Suncoast Hospice's Empath Health Service Center in Clearwater. Empath Choices for Care, a member of Empath Health, and Arden Courts Memory Care hosted the free event where Kim shared her story to help others understand the early stages, how the disease changes lives, the challenges families face and the role of caregiver.
  2. What happened when I took my dad to a Pitbull concert

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA — "So, you know how you like Pitbull?" I asked my dad. "We can see him."

    Selfie of Divya Kumar and Anand Kumar at Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias concert.
  3. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador

    Blogs

    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 25

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Festival: The daytime festival covers Central Avenue's Grand Central District with more than 350 vendors, multiple stages, live music, art and food. 9 a.m., Grand Central District, 2429 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 342-0084.

    Kristen Whalen poses for a photo before the start of the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg last year. It's that time of year again, so check with us for your planning purposes. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times (2016)]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 24

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth …

    Thousands line the streets of Central Ave. during the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg.  [Saturday, June 25, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]