National Picnic Day is coming up, so we decided to go and have a real Florida picnic in preparation to blog about this blessed event. We had seen an old fashioned hoedown advertised near Bartow – and had planned to attend that even.

However, after hours of searching (it seems our satellite and computer-aided guidance systems cannot find Homeland), we decided to hang it up and head back to the house.

Just north of Fort Meade lies a little place called Patterson Park. We swung the funmobile into the parking lot and found a space. The park is poised on an “island” in the midst of a small lake. It apparently is a former phosphate pit, repurposed as a park.

We decided it was the perfect place

Finding a place to set down

My wife and I grabbed the picnic basket, and followed the path to a short red bridge that led to an “island” surrounded by water. There we saw a winding pathway with a choice of picnic tables, gazebos and other structures where visitors can sit, eat and pass the time of day.

One of two bridges leading onto the “island”

At the first picnic table there sat a hopeful squirrel. Not wanting an audience, we walked along down to the second concrete table where we could enjoy our lunch without an audience.

Our chosen lunch spot

It was short lived, the squirrel again located us. He climbed a nearby tree then carefully approached several times in search of a handout. We managed to get through lunch without incident.

Then with a chorus of “Apple core! Baltimore! Who’s your friend?” Mrs. Funmeister lobbed the remains of her apple in his general direction. Like a shot he picked it up, scampered back up the tree and did not bother us again.

Persistence pays off.

Plenty of Reasons to Enjoy this Park

We were particularly impressed by their use of winding trails and access ramps to some of the gazebos to add visual interest to what basically is a very narrow space.

The kink in this access ramp gives visual interest and makes it appear longer

Upon entering the park, there were signs with various rules and regulations for its use. There also was a uniquely Florida sign, warning that there are alligators present on the property. While we didn’t see any gators, we did see a lot of squirrels, grackles, fish and various other wildlife.

Most of the animals were largely unimpressed by us humans as we strolled along the concrete pathway, enjoying the scenery.

There was this Anhinga that did pose for usf

Following this lovely experience, we are encouraged to have more picnics and blog about it. Moreover, we have been assured that being outside can improve short-term memory, reduce stress and boost creativity,

But more about that later. Our message is don’t wait until National Picnic Day to go and enjoy a real Florida picnic.

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