We begin the tour with a discussion of the mangrove ecosystem and i ts role in Florida
ecology. Kayak safety and technique is then discussed. The tour begins along a fringe
of red mangroves, and you wi ll see the juvenile fish that grow up in the protective roots.
This opens up into Anna Maria Sound where dolphins are usually herding fish into the
shallow waters. The tour then goes under the Key Royale Bridge into Bimini Bay which
was dredged i n the early 1900ís. We go by the Key Royale Golf Course and then view
the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and Tropicana Field in the distance. The highlight of the
trip is the bird rookery found on a spoil island including the Roseate Spoonbill. The
halfway point of the trip is a mangrove island where we get out and view fish eggs,
hermit crabs, and mullet jumping in the sea grass. The trip then heads back to Anna
Maria Sound where we again look for dolphins munching on mullet.
The trip length is two to three hours depending upon the season and skill level of the
Join guide Capt. Scott or guide Brian and explore the narrow waterways, coves and shady mangrove enclosed streams that take you from the Robinson Preserve to the Manatee River. The preserve is well laid out with the potential to see eagles, osprey, herons, pelicans, many types of gull, tern, a number of fish and underwater creatures in the clear waters of the bay. You will have the opportunity to climb to the top of the 53ft. tall observation tower to view the park and surrounding water ways.
Robinson Preserve is a 487 acres peninsula that wraps around Tampa Bayís southern tip into the Perico Bay, the preserve was converted from farmland over a two year period, after being rescued from development by Manatee County. It opened i n July 2008.
It is the largest habitat restoration i n the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, and features many native habitat communities, including rare high marsh salterns. Restoration included the removal of most exotic vegetation, and the restoration of a mosaic of native wetland and upland communities, alongside hiking trails, boardwalks, and primitive campsites. There are 2.5 miles of blue way trail running from the Manatee River south to Perico Bayou.
There are bridges, picnic spots, mangrove forests and a 53 foot tall tower with a wide open view of the Tampa Bay area. The 120 year old Valenti ne House, moved to the preserve by boat, is near the entrance to the property, scheduled for a renovation to become Robinsonís information center.