The Caladesi Discovery Center
(CDC) will be an open air,
ADA compliant, interpretive facility rising from the old observation tower
site at Caladesi Island State Park.
An observation deck at
a height of approximately 25 feet above ground level will provide visitors
a panoramic view of this undeveloped barrier island.
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to offering a magnificent bird’s eye view of the topography and plant
communities of one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on Florida’s
Gulf Coast, the CDC will provide hands-on exhibits where park guests will
be able to investigate aspects of Caladesi’s history, habitat and
At the Caladesi Discovery Center every person will
have an opportunity to experience the nature of “Real Florida.”
A rich history of Florida’s Caladesi Island is made available to
all who visit. Visitors to the center will learn about the Tocobaga
Indians who inhabited the island before the arrival of Spanish,
English, Caribbean, and American soldiers, sailors and fishermen
who used Caladesi as an anchorage stopover or a site for fish camps.
The island adventures of a young girl named Myrtle Scharrer who
lived on Caladesi in the early 1900’s will show park guests the
challenges and simple beauty of growing up in “paradise.”
The evolving habitat of Caladesi Island provides a valuable glimpse
into the wonder of an undeveloped barrier island. From the acres
of mangrove to the lush forest of slash pines to warm inviting beaches,
visitors will be afforded a glimpse into a landscape that has been
virtually untouched by development.
CDC visitors will explore the wonders of the wildlife on the island.
Gopher tortoises thrive there as well as owls and osprey. Caladesi’s
beach is critical to shorebirds for resting and nesting. Through
hands-on exhibits, park guests will learn about the diverse wildlife
that depends upon Caladesi for a home.
The Future Caladesi Discovery Center will be located where the old fire tower once stood.
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