Friday, May 29, 2020

Oxbow Eco-Center

The Oxbow Eco-Center is an environmental learning center located in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Situated on a 225-acre preserve on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, the Eco-Center has a series of trails totaling about 3.5 miles. 

mosaic art
The center houses an Exhibit Hall and Discovery Room which are currently closed due to COVID-19. However, the hiking trails, butterfly gardens, and picnic areas are free and open to the public, offering a safe and healthy activity for the whole family.

frog sculpture made from tires
It was nice to be out in the fresh air surrounded by nature and art. The grounds are peppered with an eclectic mix of art installations and kid-friendly sculptures like this funky frog made from upcycled tires.

theater at the Oxbow Eco-Center
They also have a little outdoor theater for special events. My ukulele club was supposed to play in their Earth Day concert but unfortunately, it was canceled due to the stay at home order. On a positive note, there was a banner on the front of the building announcing that they will be open for summer camp.

hiking trail at the Oxbow Eco-Center
The South Florida Water Management District and St. Lucie County purchased the lands to preserve and sustain its native wildlife.

Trail head at the Oxbow-Eco Center
Boardwalks, bridges, trails, and observation towers have been built from either recycled or recyclable materials to allow visitors to fully experience nature without disrupting it.

Canoe Launch
You can launch your canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard from the canoe launch and paddle down the St. Lucie River.

Saint Lucie River
It has more species of fish than any other river in the state!

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
Along the Florida Heritage Trail, you will discover many delightful art installations.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
These folksy animal sculptures are made from wood.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
These endearing scenes made me feel like I was in an enchanted forest.
I couldn't get enough of them so I actually hiked this trail twice.   

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
The scenes are numbered but there was no interpretive signage and I couldn't find any information about them on the trail map.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
I can only assume that this trail normally offers a guided experience when the Eco-Center is open. The mystery of it all has made me even more intrigued.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
I can't wait to go back to the Oxbow Eco-Center when it is fully operational again. I am curious to know more about this special place. I will add a Part 2 to this post with photos and information about the Exhibit Hall and Discovery Room when they re-open.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail

In the meantime, I hope you visit the Oxbow Eco-Center and enjoy it as much as I did!

"The Oxbow Eco-Center cultivates knowledge, nurtures a sense of wonder, and inspires stewardship for the natural world through education, artistic expression, collaboration, volunteerism, and celebration."

5400 NE St. James Drive
Port St. Lucie, FL 34983

Admission is free