Exploring nature trails at Highlands Hammock State Park is more enjoyable when you have more knowledge about the different plant and animal species that are found there. The Exploration Station is manned by two knowledgeable volunteers, Brian and Susan Woodworth, who educate visitors about the plant and animal species found at the park. The station is filled with pictures, snake skins, alligator eggs, footprints, skulls of various animals and countless other biological samples. It’s like a tiny nature museum with guides who will explain each item and listen to your stories as well. This educational treasure is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. year-round, and it’s easy to find. Just past the park entrance, take the first road to the right. The small white trailer marks the spot, and it’s just a few feet down the road after the right-hand turn.
Myra Coggeshall, who logged over 5,000 volunteer hours, started the Exploration Station after her husband died. Before he died, the two of them would spend time in the biologist’s office admiring all the biological samples. After his death, she asked, “Why don’t we display these items so that people can enjoy them?” So she took two totes and carried the items to the campground. Throughout the years, people donated supplies and Myakka State Park assisted with the collection. Myra even purchased a hog skull at an antique store. The project grew over the years and the Woodworths took over when she retired.
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