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Discover the Island tours to showcase Egmont Key

(ran South, East editions)

Discover the Island tours next weekend will showcase the natural and historic elements of Egmont Key, which sits at the mouth of Tampa Bay.

The Egmont Key Alliance, a nonprofit citizens' support group, will provide boats starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Oct. 3 to take visitors from Fort DeSoto Park across the bay shipping channel to the key.

Once there, visitors can take tours focusing on the island's geological, military and natural history, visit the lighthouse or wander around. Egmont Key is a state park and a national wildlife refuge.

To defray transportation costs, a $15 donation will be requested, with no contribution necessary for children under 6. Tickets are available in advance online at www.egmontkey.org. Remaining tickets will be available at the event.

Boats will run back and forth continuously from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on both days, with the last boat returning to the mainland at 4 p.m.

Boats will leave from the beach near the old fort on the bay side. Signs will be placed throughout Fort DeSoto Park directing visitors to designated parking areas for Discover The Island.

There is limited shade on the island, so sunscreen, shoes, sunglasses and hats are strongly encouraged. Alcohol and pets are not permitted and food will not be provided. Bottled water will be sold on the island. Egmont Key restroom facilities are limited, and visitors are encouraged to use facilities on the mainland before boarding the boat.

The event is supported by the Florida Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Eckerd College Waterfront Program and Hubbard's Sea Adventures. For information, call Egmont Key State Park at (727) 893-2627.

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