Environmental Education Center Opens at Mobbly Bayou Preserve

The new Environmental Education Center at Oldsmar's Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve.

The new Environmental Education Center at Oldsmar’s Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve.

If you’ve never visited Oldsmar’s Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve, located at the end of State Street East on the northern edge of Old Tampa Bay, you are truly missing out.

The tranquil area, which used to be home to a water treat-ment plant, is full of trees, water and various species of wildlife, plus a dog park and a kayak/canoe launch.

While the natural beauty of the preserve is undeniable, the latest man-made addition — the open-air Environmental Education Center — brings a unique look, and the opportunity for new experiences, to the park.

“The Environmental Education Center will serve as the place for visitors to learn about the estuaries, wetlands and environment in and around the Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve,” Oldsmar’s Outdoor and Environmental Coordinator Joan Landis told Oldsmar Connect.

“It’s kind of a unique area, with a freshwater source leading out to a saltwater body…so there’s a limitless amount of opportunities to do environmental teaching there.”

The open air pavilion of the Environmental Education Center at Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve.

The open air pavilion of the Environmental Education Center at Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve.

Befitting the unique beauty of the preserve, the new pavilion is quite a unique structure in itself.

The wooden interior trusses of the center were built by city employees. Solar panels were installed on the roof of the facility as a pilot program to determine their effectiveness and speak toward the City’s mission statement of retrofitting city facilities to conserve energy and meet green standards, as well as for the exploration of alternative energy sources.

According to officials the entire project, which included the construction of the education center plus renovations to the trail, the observation tower, the parking lot and the fishing pier, as well as the installation of security lighting, interpretive signage and landscaping, cost approximately $300,000 and took one year from grant agreement to completion.

The canoe/kayak launch at Mobbly Bayou Wilderness preserve.

The canoe/kayak launch at Oldsmar’s Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve.

Although the center has yet to receive an official grand opening ceremony, Landis said the facility has already served as the home base for some activities.

“We have been doing summer camps there, learning about the estuary and the wetlands and other environmental based activities,” she said.

“After the summer, we are looking to put together weekend activities, including kayak and canoe trips, and tie it into other things in the community.”

Landis admitted the preserve is still somewhat of an unknown commodity to many Oldsmar residents.

But she said she hopes the addition of the Environmental Education Center, as well as the other upgrades to the property, will help open the area up to more visitors.

“Some people know about it, others will be seeing it for the first time,” she said.

“It’s definitely a hidden gem, but it’s a real nice place to fish, have lunch or just relax and enjoy nature.”

Here’s a photo gallery of some of the sights at the Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve:

  1. Marie Orsello 4 years ago
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