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Tarklin Bayou - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Places to Visit

Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park is located 10 miles south west of Pensacola and 2 miles south of the U. S. 98.

This was first acquired by thge Parks Department in the 1990s and was originally 900 acres. Since then the Department has added more land and they are currently planning a disabled access trail that will link the car park to the boardwalk. The boardwalk was created in 1992 and leads to the bayou.

You will want to take the boardwalk to the bayou which is stunning. A bayou is literally a slow moving creek or stream and are usually found in low lying areas. The word is thought to come from the Choctaw bay uk which means small stream though there are those who would argue for the french bas-lieu which translates to low land.

Bayous have an almost mystical resonanse which have been celebrated in literature and music; remember the late Roy Orbison song Blue Bayou?

There are many rare and endangered plants here including the pitcher plant which is only found twixt the Mississippi and Apolachicola Rivers. The white topped pitcher plant is carniverous. There are another 100 varieties of plants that thrive in the wet prairie enviroment.

If you are feeling energetic then you may want to take a day hike that eventally takes you to the Perdido River.

Look out for the alligator snapping turtle; this is one of the largest turtles in the world. Despite its name it is considered to be less vicious than the common snapping turtle and also bigger. Having said that, this turtle has the second strongest bite of any animal in the world so maybe best not to upset it!

It has a big head and a thick shell which is characterised by spikes and plates that are another way to distinguish it from its aforementioned cousin. The largest reported species was 403 pounds but the largest living one weighs in at 236 pounds and currently resides in a zoo in Chicago. They normally measure between 16 to 32 inches and can stay under water for 3 hours. Usually only the females come onto land when they are nesting.

There is no charge to enter this State Park and there are some nearby Parks to visit. These include Big Lagoon, Perdido Key, Henderson Beach and Yellow River Marsh Preserve.

This is the full address: Tarkiln State Park, c/o Big Lagoon State Park, Pensacola, Florida, 32507. Tel 850 492 1592

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