10th Annual Raptor Fest returns to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve this weekend

10th Annual Raptor Fest returns to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve this weekend

To the uninitiated, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is quite possibly the best natural gem we have around the Burg. This 245 acre park is a pristine wonderland featuring 6 miles of trails and boardwalks through a variety of habitats including hardwood hammocks, sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, willow marsh, swamp woodlands and lake shore. It is also one of the very best places to spot alligators throughout the year. The Preserve is located at 101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg, FL 33705.

While the park is funded mostly by the City and through a nominal admission or membership fees it charges visitors, the Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve are a volunteer organization that is instrumental in taking care of this oasis and educating the public about its Birds of Prey program.

Raptor Fest returns on Saturday, February 4th

One of the marquee events for the Preserve is the annual Raptor Fest, now entering its 10th year. This free event is set to take place on Saturday, February 4th from 10am-4pm and will be packed with educational programming, bird walks, activities for the whole family and local vendors. Attendees will be able to watch trained raptors in free flight and get a photo op with these majestic birds. 

While the event itself is free, donations are encouraged and there will also be multiple raffles with prizes from local businesses. Sponsorships are also available at multiple levels.

Onsite parking is limited to those with a handicap permit but additional parking is available at Lake Vista Recreation Center (1401 62nd Ave S) and Lakewood High School (1400 54th Ave S) with a free trolley service to and from the event. No pets are allowed at the Preserve.

Learn more about Raptor Fest 2023 by visiting the Friends of Boyd Hill website. If you are looking to support the Friends of Boyd Hill, consider giving a donation or becoming a member which gets you special discounts and perks at the Preserve.

Visit Boyd Hill all year to spot alligators, birds and other wildlife

For those looking to visit Boyd Hill outside of this event, the park’s hours vary seasonally:

      • November 1 – February 29
            • Tuesday – Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm 

            •  Saturday 7:00 am – 6:00 pm

            • Sunday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

            • Monday Closed

            • Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day

        • March 1 – October 31
              • Tuesday – Friday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm 

              • Saturday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

              • Sunday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

              • Monday Closed

        The city also recently opened the Terry Tomalin Campground and event space right next to the Pinellas Pioneer Settlement. We have not been on an overnight trip yet, but it’s something that’s definitely on our bucket list.


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