Perico Preserve gallery

- Cindy Lane | Sun

Perico Preserve is a former 176-acre farm that dated back to the 1930s. A vegetable stand operated into the 1970s at 11700 Manatee Ave. W., where the preserve entrance is located.

A 1.5-mile shell and boardwalk trail leads to a bird blind, designed for birdwatchers and photographers, a Monet-like pond, with water lilies and a bridge, and the bird rookery island, the main feature of the preserve.

Shaded swing benches overlook fresh and saltwater marshes. Dry uplands provide habitat for relocated gopher tortoises. Shady trails are comfortable for summer walkers.

From a boardwalk, visitors can see Robinson Preserve across Perico Bayou; the two preserves create a wildlife corridor for many species of animals and birds.

To protect wildlife, dogs are not allowed at Perico Preserve, and bicycles are limited to certain areas; both are allowed at Robinson Preserve.