Tibet-Butler Preserve

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440 Acre Tibet-Butler Preserve Next to Disney World

A crow could fly from Disney World to the Tibet-Butler Preserve in less than a half a mile.

By car, it’s just a bit further than that.  It is worth the drive.  

Vera Carter Environmental Center

Don’t misunder-stand me.  I love the mouse. However, I think it’s a good idea for families to do more than visit Theme Parks when travelling to the Disney World area.  After all, Florida contains the only mixture of tropi-cal and subtropi-cal climates in the continental USA.  There’s a lot to discover.

Here’s a simple and easy way to experience the real Florida–take an hour break from the tourist area to hike one of the short trails in the Tibet-Butler Preserve and spend a few minutes reviewing the information inside the Vera Carter Environmental Center.

Montessori Students in the Preserve's Classroom

From Disney World, you drive north on Route 535 to the preserve on the right hand side of the road.  You’ll get there in about 5 minutes.  Parking and ad-mission are free.  The preserve is open 8am to 6pm Wednesday to Sunday.  Heck, you can even arrive there at 8am and still be at the Theme Park when it opens at 9am!

The 440 acres of the preserve were purchased by the South Florida Water Management District through the “Save Our Rivers Program” in 1989.  Here, you might catch a glimpse of a bobcat, fox, swallow-tailed kite, gopher tortoise, bald eagle or even a rare indigo snake.  Song birds are ubiquitous as well.  You can hike through bay and cypress swamps, freshwater marshes and scrub and pine flatwoods.

Grabbing a Water Sample From the Marsh

One of the neat features of the preserve is the Interpretive Trail Guide. This handy pamphlet corres-ponds to marker pylons on the trails inside the preserve.  At each pylon the guide gives educational tips and suggestions of things to observe.  It is detailed, well written and appropriate for all age levels.   

Within moments of entering the preserve you will feel as though you have entered a new world.  Peaceful tranquility will envelop you.  The hiking trails are wide and smooth.  Well constructed boardwalks traverse the swampy areas.  Follow the trail to the Osprey overlook.  Once there, you can rest on one of the benches and enjoy the view of the water lilies adorning the edges of Lake Butler.  

# 1 Daughter and Class in the Florida Wilderness

Our daughter’s Montessori classroom went to the preserve for a lesson in water quality.  After a brief presentation in the classroom, the instructor took the students out to the marsh.  Samples of water were obtained.  The students donned goggles and gloves, then tested the water for oxygen content, ph levels, turbidity, temperature, contaminants and so forth.    

Kaitlin and Instructor Conduct an Experiment

It was a great lesson.  The students were engaged with rapt attention.  Mrs. LanceAround and I took a moment to sit on the benches under the Osprey Pavillion and enjoy the tranquil serenity of the surrounding fresh water marsh and view of Lake Butler.  It was a much needed respite from our hectic schedules.  

The perfect natural Florida environment for the well informed traveller seeking “More Than a Mouse”™

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2 Responses to “Tibet-Butler Preserve”

  1. Randie Lin Says:

    Love your blog. I agree with you. There’s more to places than theme parks and cafes. I will be visiting Orlando soon and was sure there’s more to it than Disney. Thanks!

    • LanceAround Says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation. I have two sons that are vegan and my wife and I are vegetarian. Best of luck to you with your travels and blogs! LanceAround

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