Oakland Nature Preserve is a 128-acre preserve just west of Orlando between Winter Garden and Clermont. It includes 5 of Florida’s 12 major ecosystems. The mission of the Oakland Nature Preserve is to educate visitors about the ecosystems of the Lake Apopka Basin, and to conserve and restore the land and habitats within the Preserve.
The Oakland Nature Preserve offers many programs for visitors, including insect safaris, paddle tours, and guided hikes to experience Florida’s native species. On the Critter Cams, you may see a bobcat, osprey, great horned owl, or a gopher tortoise.
The Preserve’s most popular trail is its 2/3 mile long and mostly shaded boardwalk to Lake Apopka and a pavilion. The boardwalk is wheelchair accessible. The signage along the boardwalk will identify plants and trees. You may see blackberries, elderberries, cattails, alligators, birds, spiders, snakes, and turtles. There are 6 hiking trails. Trails are color-coded to available maps. Each trail offers a different experience and view, from floodplain forests to a shady oak hammock.
The Preserve’s Education Center offers live turtle and fish exhibits as well as a museum and library. While there, enjoy the Serenity Porch by resting in one of the rocking chairs and taking in the beauty of Nature.
Photo Credit: Dan Kon