APOLLO BEACH — Hillsborough County reopened the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve this week, complete with a new 37-foot observation tower.
The preserve at 6760 Surfside Blvd., closed in March to allow crews to build the tower and to refurbish an existing seawall. The property is managed by Hillsborough County Conservation & Environmental Lands Management.
The broad wooden tower, near the center of the 63-acre waterfront preserve, is the first in the county that is wheelchair-accessible. The wide ramp and modest grades are intended to make it possible for all to enjoy the panoramic view.
The preserve reopened with limited parking capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic. Similarly, only 10 people at a time are allowed on the observation tower. Picnic pavilions remain closed.
The nature preserve’s other amenities include a sandy beach, habitat restoration area, hiking trail and restrooms. Swimming is prohibited because of swift offshore currents. Eight breakwaters protect and preserve the beach. The county touts the preserve as great place to fish, bird watch, build a sandcastle or fly a kite.