SEBRING -- Supporting a beautiful yet delicate ecosystem, central Florida’s Highlands Hammock State Park possesses a unique and richly divergent collection of plant and animal life.
Highlands Hammock, with more rare and endemic species than any other Florida State Park, is a place where wilderness and history are preserved. Visitors can walk the trails where the Florida panther and black bear quietly pass beneath the ancient, towering oaks of a magnificent hydric hammock. Deer, alligators, and a variety of birds frequent the park.
With its beautiful old-growth hammock and variety of habitats and wildlife species, this is ... the Real Florida at its best.
To see these natural wonders, hike any of the nine trails, including an elevated boardwalk through a cypress swamp. Make sure to travel the 3-mile bike loop, or take the tram for those who prefer to sit back and leisurely take it all in.
Highlands Hammock State Park is home to the state of Florida’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum. The park is one of eight original parks built by the CCC in Florida and one of several hundred nationwide that were constructed or improved upon by the CCC.
Launched in 1933 as part of President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” building programs during the Great Depression, the CCC employed hundreds of thousands of men to shape the landscape. The program provided the opportunity for work during a time when there was none. The workers built parks, planted trees, and restored forests. Museum, which was established in 1994, is housed in a building constructed by the CCC.
Museum docents conduct tours where visitors can learn about the CCC and the history of the park through interactive exhibits. Documentary films featuring the oral histories of former CCC boys may be viewed on the museum stage. Children may learn about the CCC and the Great Depression through a ‘CCC History Detective’ Scavenger Hunt. Museum volunteers literally bring the Great Depression and the CCC to life by connecting visitors to those ‘another day, another dollar’ times and showing how much the CCC has impacted the development of Florida’s parks.
The museum is usually open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours may vary during the summer and on holidays.
The park, 5931 Hammock Road, Sebring, 33872, is open 8 a.m. until sunset, 365 days a year. The entry fee is $6 per vehicle. For more information, call 863-386-6094.
This tourism feature was brought to you by Handy Food Stores, who encourages you to get out and explore your own backyard and all the things our region has to offer!