If you are viewing the Virtual Gallery from home, you will need your Orange County resident library card to access some of the resources.
The island is made up of maritime forests, desert like dunes, and undisturbed salt marshes. The diverse habitats inside the park are home to river otters, marsh rabbits, bobcats, and a variety of native and migrating birds. Little Talbot Island remains one of the few undeveloped barrier islands in Northeast Florida.
The park features a ravine that was created over thousands of years by water flowing from the St. Johns River. In 1933, the ravine was transformed into a dramatic garden. For the most part, the original landscaping remains as formal gardens and an extensive trail system.
A series of foot trails offers the public an opportunity to walk and observe wildlife. Mud Spring trail leads the visitor on a two mile self-guided looped walk to Mud Spring Picnic Area. John's Landing trail meanders along old road beds to the St. Johns River.
The park is an island in the middle of the river and is reached via a ferry that runs every few minutes. Hammock Hiking Nature Trial offers an approximately 3 mile round trip to the large Indian shell mound at the southwest corner of the island.
Blue Spring encompasses 2,644 acres and is a popular winter home to many endangered manatees. Temperatures in the spring remain a constant 72 degrees, creating a safe haven for the manatee during the cooler months and a cooling swim for humans during the long hot days of summer.
Library Online Resources
Florida author and documentary filmmaker Bill Belleville reads selections from his new book, Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost & Found in the State of Dreams, and explains why Florida in its natural state is more beautiful and magical than any theme park or man-made attraction.
Explore our largest database of full-text articles and find comprehensive articles on Florida nature, trails, boating, and other topics.
Research Florida nature and ecosystems with helpful illustrations, diagrams, and videos on various subjects.
Get full-text newspaper articles from local sources here. Go to the list of Florida newspapers and choose the ones (or all) that correspond to the region of Florida you are interested in.
Natural lands in Florida are administered by many agencies, including federal, state, local, and private. Here are some of the more comprehensive websites to start your exploration:
Explore Florida's National Forests, including Orlando's own Ocala National Forest. It features large springs, spring runs, the Florida Trail, and an important black bear population. This is one of the largest tracts of natural land in the state and this website provides useful maps through the USDA Forest Service website.
State and County Lands
Enjoy a number of outdoor recreational opportunities like boating, hunting, fishing, or watching wildlife. The Species Profiles section gives descriptions and maps of where to find a particular species like a whooping crane or a gopher tortoise.
Download PDF maps for hiking, biking, and paddling trails from this website provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Take a look at over a million acres of state land that you might not have heard of. Simply click on the map to get a description of each forest.
There are many state parks in Florida and each has something unique to offer. Close to Orange County there is Blue Spring State Park. In colder weather, manatees are almost always present and easily observable in the main spring.
Explore the large tracts of land that surround the St. Johns River. Even if you don't have a boat, there are great opportunities for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and other activities. View details about each of their properties.
Private and Local Lands
Learn about this private group that buys and protects environmentally sensitive lands. They specialize in preserving unique ecosystems that might escape the notice of other agencies.
Check to see if there is a park nearby that you haven't discovered yet.
Get up to date reports of which bird is being sighted in Florida or the U.S. You can post your own reports too.
Find new places to go and new things to do from other hikers in Florida. Ask a question in the forum or post your own trip report.
Read about outdoor recreation, including trails for hiking, biking, and other activities.
Get a good basic knowledge of natural Florida with this series of books that cover Florida's plants, animals, and wildlife areas. These books have large color pictures and easy to read descriptions. Great for school reports and general information.
Read about Florida's environmental history and explore the wild side of Florida.
Learn about the longest river in the state of Florida, and browse the recreational guides.
Kids & Teens
Library Online Resources
Discover Florida nature! These titles will help you learn more about Florida's ecosystems and wildlife.
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View this website for information on fishing the local coast, current fishing reports, how-to's, and more.
Find out how you can help preserve, conserve, and restore native plants of Florida.
Find detailed information on 1,400 miles of hiking trails from the Florida Trail Association.
Make your own nature preserve in your yard through the University of Florida IFAS Extension website.
Enjoy the Interactive Sky Chart that helps you find your way in the night sky quickly and easily. [Registration is required but it is free].
Take a weather station with you. Accuweather has lots of products that are compatible with many types of devices and telecom carriers.
Get the renowned mapping application, Google Earth, free for your iPhone or Android.
Peterson Feeder Birds of North America
Peterson Field Guides have been around for a long time and are well regarded by the birding community. Make quick and accurate identification of over 160 bird species with this free application.
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