Reserve Nature Center
Public is welcome to visit Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am until 4:00 pm. Call 850-670-7700 for more information.
Visit our Nature Center to learn about the Apalachicola River and Bay!
Designed to give visitors a sense of place and to orient them within the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint watershed, the exhibits demonstrate the connectivity among habitats (River, Bay and Gulf). The watershed is a continuum of habitat, and not comprised of discreet, separate systems. Visitors first encounter a replica oyster boat outfitted with the tools of the trade, then detailed maps of the watershed help you understand the big picture. Inside the 5,400 square foot Nature Center you will find a large mural that depicts in detail the ecosystems of the area. Three giant tanks filled with fish, shellfish and reptiles allow visitors to see first-hand what swims in the Apalachicola River, Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The Bay Discovery Room has hundreds of skeletons, fossils and preserved marine life to explore and examine close-up. Check out our large labeled shell collect where you can ID what you have found on the beach or bay. Historic artifacts depict early industries of the area and listen to firsthand accounts of local fishermen describing their profession and how it relies on the health and productivity of Apalachicola Bay to be sustainable.
Be sure to see our new film about the Apalachicola watershed. The 12-minute documentary style film travels the entire watershed from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to the Apalachicola River and Bay
Visitors can also explore the third of a mile raised boardwalk that traverses the Nature Center’s 28 acres. Throughout the boardwalk, visitors will encounter a series of quotes that serve as momentary inspiration to help visitors connect with the nature that surrounds them. Along the boardwalk to the overlook is the Watershed Walk: a 270-foot boardwalk scaled to match the 530 river miles from the headwaters of the watershed to Apalachicola Bay. Visitors travel downstream from the headwaters of the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers to the mouth of the Apalachicola River where it empties into Apalachicola Bay. Boardwalk markers denoting landmarks such as cities, towns and dams along the river help visitors track their journey.
A plant guide is available to help identify some of the more common species.
The Nature Center building is also LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified at the silver level, which means that many aspects of the facility are designed to be energy efficient and environmentally sensitive. Compact fluorescent bulbs are used throughout the facility; The parking areas are constructed from pervious materials, allowing rainwater to permeate the ground without creating excessive runoff. The roof of the facility is designed to capture rainwater and funnel it into cisterns underneath the building. The water from these cisterns is used for flushing toilets and irrigation for landscaping.
Visitors to two of our remote locations on St. George Island can participate in a citizen science initiative documenting our ever-changing shoreline with your own mobile phone. Read more about the Chronolog project here.