September brings the arrival of Fall, opportunities for service and many beautiful butterflies to the 1,643 acres that make up Topsail Hill Preserve State Park as well as the return of some “fan favorites.” Whether you visit the park’s butterfly garden, or you witness the migration of butterflies floating along the sea oats on the beach, you are in for a visual treat. The insects’ bright wings bring many spots of color to the park as if they were wildflowers. The Gulf Fritillary will be the most common butterfly spotted this season. As an adult it relies on Lantana as its primary source of nectar. You’ll know you’re looking at the caterpillar of a Gulf Fritillary because they are a bright orange with black spikes. These caterpillars need the Passion Flower or Passion Vine for their primary source of food before forming a chrysalis and metamorphosizing in to an adult butterfly. Why all the excitement about butterflies, you ask? Butterflies are effective pollinators, a great food source for birds, amphibians and reptiles and their presence indicates a healthy ecosystem.
September brings the return of the ever-popular Kids Club to the park. Children along with their parents will enjoy nature crafts and activities in a fun volunteer led atmosphere. Families are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and stay after to add to their fun. Kids Club will be held on September 15th at 12:00pm.
Also returning to the park are canoe, kayak, paddleboard and bike rentals. The park’s concessionaire, Fancy Camps, rents watercrafts either by the half or whole day and you can enjoy either the Gulf of Mexico or Campbell Lake, a rare Coastal Dune Lake. Bikes can be rented as well so you can enjoy the beautiful preserve area by bike. For more information on the rental process you can contact the park store 850-267-8333.
On September 21st you can help the park by participating in its International Coastal Cleanup Day beach cleanup. September 28th you can help the park with its “Cache In, Trash Out” adventure for National Public Lands Day and Bike Your Park day. All three events are wonderful opportunities for you to help conserve the unique ecosystems found within the park for the many imperiled species that visit them or call them home.
In early October you’ll be able to enjoy the return of Topsail Under the Stars and the expansion of the annual “Rollin’ Through the Decades” Vintage RV and Camping Show on October 5th. This year there will be close to 100 campers spanning the years of 1916 to 2018 with a large portion of them from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Along with all these fantastic campers for you to visit there will be a Vintage Camper Holiday photo booth and other fun camping and outdoor related activities.
For more information about the park events, programs and activities visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/topsail-hill-preserve-state-park. As the Prk Rangers always say: whether you want to camp, hike, bike, paddle, explore, swim, learn or volunteer, there is something for everyone at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. See you in the park soon!
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