Blue Spring State Park,Â home to manatees in the winter and a favorite place for a swim in clear, bracing spring water in the summer, will allow visitors to stay one hour after closing during firefly season from now through early April.
Really? When I first read this, I thought it was an April Foolâ€™s joke. As a South Florida resident, am I alone in my ignorance of â€œfirefly seasonâ€? But I did a quick Google search, and, indeed, Central Florida is awash with fireflies at dusk near bodies of water in the late March and early April.
There is a firefly season and Blue Spring, located 35 miles north of Orlando in Orange City, is firefly central.
This year, “firefly season” began in late March and will continue through early April,
To allow visitors to enjoy this phenomenon, Blue Spring lets visitors stay after the traditional closing time to see “Mother Nature’s light show.”
Here’s how it works, as posted on the park’s website:
Come see the firefliesÂ at Blue Spring State Park.Â Guided Tours will begin starting late March going into early April. Please be in the park 30 minutes prior to closing. A suggested $10 donation will go to the Friend’s of Blue Spring State Park (CSO) to help with park improvement. Contact the Ranger Station for details. 386-775-3663
You must must arrive before sundown to gain admission. Please bring a flashlight to safely navigate the paths and boardwalks after dark. Best viewing is along the boardwalk between the Thursby House and the Spring Boil. Insect repellent for mosquitoes may be needed.
One park staff member describes the scene as “pretty spectacular …..It’s like a bunch of Christmas lights thrown out there into the woods.”
Check out this Florida Rambler story on the nearbyÂ Wekiva River Basin.
Florida Department of Environmental ProtectionÂ web site about Floridaâ€™s Springs
For campground reservations, call (800) 326-3521 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern) or TDD (888) 433-0287, or online at Florida State Parks.
Take Interstate 4 to exit 114 (State Road 472) and follow the signs to U.S. 17/92. Go a little more than two miles south on 17/92 to the traffic light at French Ave. Turn right and go two miles through a neighborhood of modest homes to Blue Spring State Park.