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Oscar Scherer State Park 'shadow light' © Anna Lee Simpson
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USA Parks
USA Parks
Florida
Florida
Central West Region
Central West Region
Oscar Scherer State Park
Oscar Scherer State Park
OSCAR SCHERER STATE PARK
OSCAR SCHERER STATE PARK
1843 S. Tamiami Trail
Osprey, Florida   34229

Phone: 941-483-5956
Reservations: 941-483-5956
Oscar Scherer State Park
'shadow light'

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Oscar Scherer State Park
'lazy cross'

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Oscar Scherer State Park
'lone purple flower'

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Oscar Scherer State Park
'osprey lake blue hour'

website

A large acreage of scrubby flatwoods makes this park one of the best places to see Florida scrub-jays, a threatened species found only in Florida. The park protects scrubby and pine flatwoods that were once widespread throughout Sarasota County. Fifteen miles of trails through these beautiful natural areas provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along South Creek, a blackwater stream that flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Canoe and kayak rentals are available, but motorized boats are not permitted in the park boundaries. Freshwater and saltwater fishing are available along the creek. Anglers can fish along the shores of Lake Osprey, which is also the park?s swimming destination. Picnic areas along South Creek are equipped with grills; pavilions can be reserved for a fee. The park has full-facility campsites and a youth/group campground. The park nature center has exhibits and videos about the park?s natural communities. Located on U.S. 41, two miles south of Osprey.
Nature of the Area
The Park is well known for it's population of Florida Scrub-Jays which can be found throughout the parks Scrubby Flatwoods Plant Community. Other Species of wildlife including Bobcats, Bald Eagles, Gopher Tortoises, White-tailed Deer, Eastern Cotton-tail Rabbits, Raccoons and American Alligators can be seen at times in different areas of the park. Be sure to pick up an animal list and hiking trail map upon entering the park and ask a Park Ranger for more information on wildlife observation. Please Remember that all animals are protected and it is un-lawful to harm, harrass or feed them.
History of the Area
In her will, Elsa Scherer Burrows (1884-1955) left the family?s 460 acre South Creek Ranch to the state in memory of her father Oscar Scherer (1856-1923), inventor of a process for dyeing shoe leather in 1872. After a year of preparation, Oscar Scherer State Park was opened to the public in 1956.

Sometime later the classification for parks? changed and it became Oscar Scherer State Recreation Area. Three decades later, Realtor and environmentalist Jon Thaxton began campaigning for the state to protect adjoining Florida Scrub-Jay territory. With help from the Nature Conservancy and wide public support, the state?s Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) program used Preservation 2000 funds to purchase 922 acres of adjacent land from Palmer Ranch in 1991.

With the addition, the present Oscar Scherer State Park came into being. It now preserves more than two square miles of nature in a rapidly developing area, and provides resource-based recreation for some 130,000 visitors annually.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Day-UseFishingyes
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Bike Trailsyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
CampingWater/Electric Sitesyes
WinterActivitiesyes
Camping
Oscar Scherer State Park Full Facility Camping Oscar Scherer State Park is a Seasonal Camping Park. Campsites are available for tent or RV camping with complete hook-ups for electric and water. Reservations may be made up to eleven months in advance. One night's camping fee deposit will be required (credit card only ? must be canceled within 24 hours of check-in time for refund). For more information on camping in our park simply click on the Reserve America link. Clicking on the park map or selecting one of the camping area links just below the park map will allow you to see a map of the individual campsite locations. Select any campsite icon to see a detailed description of the individual campsite and what it has to offer.

Group Camping

A separate camp area is available for organized youth and adult groups. Tents only. No pets allowed. Amenities include pavilion, campfire circle, restroom, and cold water shower. No electric service available. Limited to 60 people. For reservations call the parks Ranger Station as Group Camp reservations are not yet made through Reserve America.

RV Camping

Campsites are available for RV camping with complete hook-ups for electric and water. Reservations may be made up to eleven months in advance. One night?s camping fee deposit will be required (credit card only ? must be canceled within 24 hours of check-in time for refund). Campsites can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet.
Events
May 23
Critter Crafts for Kids
This weekly program features different arts and craft opportunities for kids. A Volunteer will be on-hand in the Nature Center to instruct and provide the materials but parents are asked to remain with their child throughout the program; parents are welcome to participate as well. Supplies and seating is limited, so participation is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Additional Information:

May 24
Guided Scrub Walk
This weekly walk begins at the Nature Center and includes an informative walk through an ancient dune system. This unique habitat is home to the threatened Florida scrub-jay and a variety of plants and other animals. Participants should wear comfortable footwear for walking in soft sand. Cameras and binoculars are suggested. Space is limited to 15 people.

Additional Information:

May 27
Guided Paddle (or Walk)
(Must arrive at 8:30am)

Learn about the life in South Creek or take a leisurely stroll through one or more of the park's seven natural communities. South Creek is a tidal water therefore the water may sometimes be too shallow for a paddle; a guided walk will be an alternate option. Either way, be prepared to explore a slice of the "Real Florida". Bring your camera and binoculars for wildlife viewing. Registration is between 8am and 8:45am at the Ranger Station on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the paddle.

Additional Information:

Pets are not permitted on the paddle trip.

May 30
Critter Crafts for Kids
This weekly program features different arts and craft opportunities for kids. A Volunteer will be on-hand in the Nature Center to instruct and provide the materials but parents are asked to remain with their child throughout the program; parents are welcome to participate as well. Supplies and seating is limited, so participation is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Additional Information:

May 31
Guided Scrub Walk
This weekly walk begins at the Nature Center and includes an informative walk through an ancient dune system. This unique habitat is home to the threatened Florida scrub-jay and a variety of plants and other animals. Participants should wear comfortable footwear for walking in soft sand. Cameras and binoculars are suggested. Space is limited to 15 people.

Additional Information:

June 3
Guided Paddle (or Walk)
(Must arrive at 8:30am)

Learn about the life in South Creek or take a leisurely stroll through one or more of the park's seven natural communities. South Creek is a tidal water therefore the water may sometimes be too shallow for a paddle; a guided walk will be an alternate option. Either way, be prepared to explore a slice of the "Real Florida". Bring your camera and binoculars for wildlife viewing. Registration is between 8am and 8:45am at the Ranger Station on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the paddle.

Additional Information:

Pets are not permitted on the paddle trip.

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Swimming
Lake Osprey is a perfect place to cool off during the hot summer days. This 3-acre freshwater lake has a sandy beach front and is located at the Lake Osprey Picnic Area. The lake is also open for fishing, however no fishing is permitted in the designated roped off swimming area.
Canoeing
Canoeing South Creek is one of the more popular recreational activities available at the park. Visitors can launch their own canoe or kayak or rent a canoe from the Ranger Station. Canoes are currently available for rent and are launched from the South Creek Picnic Area. South Creek is a tidal black water stream that flows through the park. The Creek begins north of the park and is formed by rainfall and freshwater run-off and eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The creek fluctuates with the incoming tide and is brackish (a mixture of fresh and salt water). Mangrove trees, Giant Leather Fern, and Cabbage Palms are a few of the plant species that can be seen growing along the edge of the creek. Wading birds such as the Great Blue Heron and Little Blue Heron can be seen feeding in the water while Ospreys soar overhead. Occasionally alligators and otters can be seen taking advantage of the creeks' diverse habitat. Ranger led canoe programs are available every Wednesday.


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Day Use Area
There are pavilions located in the park that can be rented for picnics, meeting, reunions, weddings, etc.

Showers

Each of the five bathhouses in the Family Campground are equipped with restrooms and hot water showers, and are for registered campers only. Non-campers may also use these showers, however they must register at the Ranger Station and pay an additional fee. At the Lake Osprey Picnic Area, a bathhouse with inside coldwater showers is available to all visitors. Pets (other than service animals) are not permitted in any of the restroom facilities.
Picnicking
The South Creek Picnic Area and Lake Osprey Picnic Area each provide visitors with picnic tables, charcoal grills, pavilions, and a playground. South Creek Picnic area has a restroom, small pavilion and a canoe launch. Lake Osprey Picnic Area has a bathhouse, two pavilions, and a Nature Center located next to Lake Osprey. The pavilions and Nature Center are each available for rental. The Nature Center is equipped with a kitchen, folding tables, chairs, and a sound system. It also includes several exhibits about the parks various plants and animals. It is a great location for weddings, family reunions or business meetings. Please Contact the Ranger Station for additional information, reservations and current rental rates.
Trails
Six marked hiking trails provide visitors an opportunity to explore various remote portions of the park. Numbered benches conveniently placed along the trails provide resting spots and, since the numbers correspond with numbers on the trail map, visitors can determine their exact location on the trail. Keep in mind that there are no restrooms or shelters on the trail. You may want to wear good hiking shoes, bring drinking water, wear a hat, and use sunscreen and insect repellant. Make sure to request a trail map when entering the park. For information on what you might see along the trail, be sure to check out the Resources and Endangered Habitats section.
Nature Programs
Be sure to visit the Interpretive Nature Center located in front of scenic Lake Osprey. The Center showcases the parks scrubby flatwoods. Home of the Florida Scrub Jay, Gopher Tortoise, and Eastern Indigo Snake. Dioramas, Videos, Displays and Touch Table enlighten the senses and help visitors learn more about the park. Open most days from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. To find out if the center will be open during your visit call the Ranger Station at (941) 483-5956.
Things To Do in the Area
Red Fox Stables - Lithia, FLHorseback Riding
Riding Trails are located in the Alafia River Corridor Preserve directly behind the horse stables. Your trail ride will include a demonstration, followed by a one hour trail ride. Longer trail rides are available upon request.
48.6 miles from park*
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews


Area Campgrounds
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941-349-3839
CampVenice Retreat
4085 East Venice Avenue
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941-488-0850
Florida Pines
150 Satulah circle
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941-493-0019
Pets
Pets are allowed in this park's campground and visitor recreation areas. They must be well-behaved and kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash at all times. Pets must not be left unattended, nor taken into restroom facilities or onto playground equipment. Service animals are welcome in all areas and buildings of the park, as required by law. Also by law, no pets are allowed on the swimming beach or in the lake. As a safety concern we do not allow pets in rental canoes.

Pet camping is available at Oscar Scherer----- State Park. Pets must be confined, leashed (not to exceed six feet in length) or otherwise under the physical control of a person at all times. Tethered pets must not be left unattended for more than 30 minutes. Quiet hours must be observed from 11:00 p.m.  8:00 a.m. Pet owners must pick up after their pets and properly dispose of all pet droppings in trash receptacles. Florida law requires that pets be vaccinated against rabies. Any pet that is noisy, dangerous, intimidating or destructive will not be allowed to remain in the park. Non-furbearing pets, such as reptiles, birds, or fish must be confined or under the physical control of the owner. Some animals may be prohibited on park property. Failure to abide by these rules may result in the camper being asked to board the pet outside the park or to leave the campground.
Weather Forecast, (34229)

Directions
Oscar Scherer State Park is located on U.S.41, six miles south of Sarasota. Heading south on I-75 take exit 200. Heading north on I-75 take exit 195.

USA Parks
USA Parks
Florida
Florida
Central West Region
Central West Region
Oscar Scherer State Park
Oscar Scherer State Park