My News 13 - florida-tankful The latest in florida-tankful news from My News 13 http://mynews13.com/ en-us Sun, 28 Aug 2016 16:31:21 Sun, 28 Aug 2016 16:31:21 Copyright 2016 My News 13 30 <![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Paddling at Lake Kissimmee State Park]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/25/lake_kissimmee_kayak/?cid=rss Fri, 26 Aug 2016 5:00 AM Scott Fais "It's 6,000 acres of natural, real Florida,” hinted Florida State Park Ranger Andrea Henry as the humidity rose faster than the morning summer sun.

Down a winding road in Polk County, you'll find the Zipper Canal and an enthusiastic park ranger ready to share Florida's wilderness.

"I want them to learn more about the flora and fauna we have here in Florida,” said Ranger Andi, as she’s known around Lake Kissimmee State Park.

Florida's natural wonder is important to Florida native Andrea “Andi” Henry, who after attending a forestry camp in high school at a Florida State Park found her career path became clear.

"It really struck my interest and that's when I knew I wanted to be a park ranger,” she said.

At Lake Kissimmee State Park, Andrea saw a missed opportunity and paddled upstream to put visitors on the water.

"This is the first time we have ever done kayak tours at Lake Kissimmee State Park,” she explained. 

Near the dock at the park, Andi saw an empty canal as a great place to introduce visitors to low-cost kayaking.

The two-hour trip on the water is free, after kayak owners pay the $5 entry fee to the park. Those who need to rent a kayak can do so for $20 from concessionaire Back Trail Adventures of Florida.

After taking rescue classes on how to save lives on the water should a situation warrant it, Andi now spends select Saturday mornings hitting the water with small groups.

"What a great way to connect people back with nature!” Andi believes.

Kayaker Rebecca Riedy agrees, according to what she told her husband Steve.

"You need to get off the couch and we're going to do some rowing on Saturday,” Steve said, mocking his wife Rebecca.

"I always tell him to get off the couch,” Rebecca confirmed.

The pair hit the water for some exercise.

"It's a workout,” Rebecca admitted.

Paddling up the Zipper Canal can be a challenge. Paddlers must row against the current. Some arm strength is needed, but it’s not essential. Once participants reach the shady turnaround point, Andi gives a history lesson.

When returning to the starting point, paddlers can relax.

"On the way back, the current brings you back, so you get the work done first and then cruise back,” Andi said.

Some paddlers are known to put their feet in the water and use them as rudders, giving their arms a break.

"The water was clear. You could see all the way to the bottom,” Steve said.

"The minute you get on the water, the stress goes away," Rebecca, a nurse from Plant City, said.

The trek ends around 11 a.m., just as the summer temperatures begin to really heat up.

"When you're done with the kayak tour, have a lunch under a sprawling live oak,” Andi recommended.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand
Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then scroll down to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly
Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999. Or see more of Travel Monthly here, courtesy of NY1, a service of Charter Communications.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/25/lake_kissimmee_kayak/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.jpg/1472207592469.jpg
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Celebrate 100 years of National Park Service at Fort Matanzas]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/24/fort_matanzas/?cid=rss Thu, 25 Aug 2016 5:00 AM Scot Fais The National Park Service turned 100 on Thursday and what better way to celebrate it than to look at the banks of the Matanzas Inlet, which awaits a porthole to history.

"That cross of burgundy represents that Spanish Colonial period,” said Allen Arnold, a park ranger with the National Park Service.

For more than 275 years, Fort Matanzas has stood with a purpose.

"I call it, like, Spain's insurance policy,” said Arnold.

The fort, built along the Intracoastal Waterway in 1740, now has a storyteller at her side.

"You learn about the 13 colonies. Not Florida,” he said, adding that American history seldom talks about Spain’s occupation of Florida, rather the British landing at Jamestown.

"This small outpost, this watch tower, would have housed between seven and 10 Spanish solders, dressed up like me. Twenty pounds of linen and wool, throughout the summer,” Arnold explained. while wearing a Spanish soldier uniform in the hot summer sun.

While summer's heat and the design of Fort Matanzas may look familiar, history here has a blueprint. Almost a century after the last occupation of Fort Matanzas, President Calvin Coolidge in 1924 signed a presidential proclamation to preserve the fort and its big sister in St. Augustine.

"You could fit about four of these inside the courtyard inside the Castillo de San Marcos downtown,” Arnold said of St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos.

"I jokingly call it (Fort Matanzas) the little sister fort."

Sisters with a coquina rock foundation.

"We have issues now because of hands and sitting on it and standing on it,” he said of the fort’s main building component, coquina rock. The sedimentary rock is made of up of shells and invertebrates.

Spain built the forts from the material since it is abundant in this part of Florida … and it’s ability to withstand the brunt of a cannonball fired upon a fortress.

Inside, you can still tour the kitchen that doubled as a bedroom, game room and place of worship. No visit is complete without crawling up a tight ladder to the top. A hole in the roof allows the adventurous to squeeze through a small passageway to behold the view.

"Something about this coastline makes it ripe with human exploration,” Arnold concludes. "That makes it pretty special."

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand
Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then scroll down to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly
Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999. Or see more of Travel Monthly here, courtesy of NY1.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/24/fort_matanzas/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.jpg/1472151919847.jpg
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Florida's French National Park ]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/18/fort_caroline/?cid=rss Sat, 20 Aug 2016 7:45 AM Scott Fais "I think it is one of the most majestic rivers in our country,” ponders Park Ranger Craig Morris aloud, standing on the highest ground along the St. Johns River, 30 minutes outside of Jacksonville. "This river has seen just about every chapter of American History.”

The St. Johns flows north to the Atlantic Ocean past Fort Caroline, part of the National Park Service. It’s along these banks where the French intended to colonize Florida in 1564 and seek religious freedom.

"These French Huguenots wanted to plant a new colony in the New World, show the king they'll still good Frenchmen,” said Morris, standing inside the walls of the fort.

According to Morris, France’s Fort Caroline predates the pilgrims of Thanksgiving fame by 60 years. Today, the fort built to protect the French Colony is open for visitors, sort of.

While the fort looks impressive, with a giant gate and a cannon perched and seemingly ready to fire, Craig says, you might want to take a double take.

Why?

The fort isn’t real.

"No. It's not the original, because we have never located the original,” Craig says.

This reproduction was made to teach history and simulate the imagination. Imagine it as a life-sized diorama, like one a student would make for a school project, to help connect visitors the area's little-known French colonial legacy.

"Jacksonville has little architecture that resembles French architecture," said Morris. "Our football team is not the Saints, we're the Jaguars."

A recreation of a Timacuan Indian hut and midden mound are found nearby.  A permanent display shows the photos of dogs who visit the park frequently. 

Yes, at this National Park, your dog is welcome.

"It's Florida's natural treasure,” Morris concludes.

Fort Caroline is part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Across the St. John’s River awaits the Kingsley Plantation, part of the National Park Service.  Click here to read more about the plantation.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand

Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then scrool down to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/18/fort_caroline/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.jpg/1471692441998.jpg
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Hatch a gator in your hand]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/19/gator_egg_hatch_2016/?cid=rss Fri, 19 Aug 2016 6:00 AM Scott Fais Patty Register's backyard isn't like yours.

"I appreciate the wildlife,” Patty said with a sly grin.

Outside Patty's backdoor are strangers roaming her backyard that's also filled with 64 alligators and crocodiles.

This time of year, Patty has her hands full with more than 5,000 bay reptiles.

"We used to have the incubator in our living room!” she boasted.

The incubator holds the alligator eggs she and her husband Allen have kept warm as second generation gator farmers at Gatorama

The old-school Florida roadside attraction is still thriving, often running out of parking spaces on busy weekend days.

Every August during the Hatching Festival, the couple is in need of midwives in a way you may not expect.

"We hatched a gaaaator!” said an excited Hatton Kurtz as he was drawing out his syllables. The elementary school student wore an appropriate Florida Gators shirt to get his hands dirty.

Just west of Lake Okeechobee, you too can experience the start of life in your own hands.

"It looks cool and it feels weird,” Hatton said as a baby alligator slithers out of its shell and into the palm of his hands.

The experience at Gatorama is now a family tradition for the Kurtz family.

"We come every year,” explained Hatton’s mother Ati Kurtz.

And while alligators have been in the headlines this summer, Ati feels comfortable allowing her children to experience a live birth in their hands.

"It's very safe. The kids know they are not supposed to go touch gators unless it's this environment."
Patty agrees.

"We need to teach our kinds on how to live safety with alligators, because they're here and we're taking up more of their land,” Patty said. "People learn best when they are engaged and having fun."

While you can't take the baby gator home, everybody leaves with a birth certificate.

NOTE: The Hatching Festival runs through Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016. Reserve your egg here.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand

Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then scroll down to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/19/gator_egg_hatch_2016/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.jpg/1471775155174.jpg
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Peace found at De Soto National Memorial]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/9/de_soto_national_mem/?cid=rss Fri, 12 Aug 2016 5:00 AM Scott Fais For more than 500 years, the view from this part of Manatee County hasn't changed much.

"We call ourselves the hidden gem of Manatee County,” says Daniel Stephens, lead ranger at the De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton.

The wild flowers still grow here along the rocky shore at this park that is part of the National Park Service.

"It's untouched, and that's how we want it,” Daniel boasts. "It's just like Florida was 500 years ago when the Native Americans and Conquistadors clashed here."

It's in this area where Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto came ashore and changed life in Florida forever.

"It was a mission of the king to convert these native people to Catholicism. It was more souls for the church and a steady population for these colonies,” Daniel explains.

While De Soto never visited these pristine lands, the Conquistadors had a goal of using native people.

"Spain had a habit of converting native populations to a viable workforce,” he says.

Today, sand crabs and water fowl inhabit these 28-acres that you’ll find unspoiled. Visitors can fish in the shallow waters, stroll the coastline, go for a bike ride and hike along the gulf trail that leads to a massive crucifix on the shoreline.

"It's all about the recreation,” Daniel says about today’s park.

Dogs can also visit on a leash. Kids can complete an activity book and become a junior park ranger.

Inside the visitors center, a real knight suit in shining armor awaits, along with exhibits dedicated to the Native American's that lived here first.

"This point has a very long and very extensive history," Daniel concludes.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand

Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then SCROLL DOWN to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/9/de_soto_national_mem/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.jpg/1470991965920.jpg
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Golf miniaturized at Walt Disney World]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/9/golf_miniaturized_/?cid=rss Thu, 11 Aug 2016 5:00 AM Scott Fais The summer of 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of miniature golf. To celebrate, Walt Disney World just completed a refurbishment on a different type of link, designed to challenge and inspire.

For more than 20 years, the resort has turned mini-golf upside down.

"I like to consider it real golf, but miniaturized,” Disney Guest Experience Manager Jeffrey Saunders said with a sly grin.

The more than 1,400 feet of "precision putting" take on new meaning at Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course.

“The Fairways” course at Fantasia Gardens resembles a real 18-hole course, but on a smaller scale.

"It's only with putters,” says 9-year-old Trent Walden while standing on a mound of AstroTurf designed to be a course hazard.

The Walden family celebrated summer's last hurrah before school started with a morning round of golf. Here, there are no windmills, corkscrews or fiberglass creatures. Instead, the 18 holes resemble a real 18-hole course, on a smaller scale modeled after miniature golf.

"I would say the hardest hole and feature would be the first one," Trent says. "There is so much slope sending you off, away from the green."

With putters in hand, Trent and his twin sisters discovered this is quite the challenge.

"What was your average putt on the course?” We ask.

“One hundred,” Trent’s sister Janie says.

Janie joined her twin sister Conley in a fierce round on the links.

"So, did you have the best score?” We asks.

“No,” Conley responds.

Just like a traditional game of golf, there are hazards to contend with.

"Stay out of the sand. Stay out of the water. Stay out of the bushes,” Saunders with Disney says.

The course was designed by Disney’s famed Imagineers to be challenging.

"I would give this a 10, it is probably the hardest golf course in Central Florida from a miniature golf-size level,” Saunders said.

The winner's board keeps track of the best score each day for the Fairways course, along with what awaits next door. In the meantime, a second miniature golf course with scenes featuring parading ostriches and tutu-wearing hippos sits right next door. 

The Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course is described by Walt Disney World as “perfect for families and beginner golfers.”  Here, find the traditional twirling obstacles and fountains set to music from the 1940s film “Fantasia.”

Yet, leave it to a 7-year-old for more than color commentary as summer comes to an end.

"I liked it because it was really fun. I played with my family," Conley says with a warm smile.

It’s a feeling Jeffery says he sees all the time.

"When guests leave our courses, they’ve had a great time,” Jeffery said.

Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course is open late, until 11 o'clock nightly. To see a map of the course and learn prices, click here.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand

Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then SCROLL DOWN to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/9/golf_miniaturized_/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.png/1471370962509.png
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Wicked Plants invade]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/4/wicked_plants/?cid=rss Fri, 5 Aug 2016 5:00 AM Scott Fais Jake is a pretty busy 4 year old. Right now he's only slowing down long enough to pause for a scratch.

"Itch!" he says while scratching his arms.

Scratching is ironic because of where he and older sister Maren ended up.

"It's on my stomach, it's on my arms, it's on my hands,” says 10-year-old Maren Keplinger.

Poison ivy is one of several "Wicked Plants" in a museum exhibit that’s anything, but traditional.

"(It’s) spookier than I thought it would be,” Maren admits.

Darcie MacMahon, the director of exhibits and public programs at the Florida Museum of Natural History, agrees.

"This is more immersive,” Darcie says of the lowly-lit exhibit.

The Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville has a new exhibit dedicated to "Wicked Plants" that can make you itch, like mother Suzanne Haskell.

"(We) moved to Virginia and have constantly poison oak or poison sumac or something all over me,” Jake and Maren’s mom says.

Wicked Plants is a fun way to learn about what can hurt you.

"The evil doers of the plant kingdom,” Darcie calls the plants that may be hiding in your backyard or garden right now.

A dining room setting is home to a table with kidney beans, corn and almonds that can make you sick when not cooked right.

Visitors pick up a decoder ring instead of a fork to discover the harmful effects of celery and other produce like potatoes and mangos.

"Mangos are actually related to poison ivy, and some people may have experienced this when they are peeling an Mango because it's the oils in the skin that cause a poison ivy-like rash,” Darcie says.

"These are plants that are toxic that can make you sick or sometimes even kill you," she says.

She’s not kidding. Bella, a mannequin within the exhibit, is dead.

"Not real, dead woman,” Darcie is quick to point out.

Bella’s display plays out like a murder mystery, where visitors discover what plant harmed the once living senior.

Over in the bathroom, there's stinky plants in the toilet and on the counter, like “Stinking Benjamin.”  Fragrance boxes urge visitors like Maren to whiff, when she’s not scratching.

"When you don't scratch it, it wants you to scratch it more,” she says of her poison ivy rash.

NOTE: Because of the haunted sets and use of Bella, the elderly cadaver, parental discretion is advised by the Florida Museum of Natural History. The museum warns the exhibit “may not be suitable for all ages.” 

General admission is free, although donations are gladly accepted. “Wicked Plants” carries an admission rate of $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for Florida residents and seniors are $4.50.  Ages 3-17 are free.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand

Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then SCROLL DOWN to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/4/wicked_plants/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.png/1470905839084.png
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Timucuan Preserve National Park ]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/3/kingsley_plantation/?cid=rss Thu, 4 Aug 2016 5:00 AM Scott Fais As the National Park Service turns 100 this month, Scott Fais is on a Tankful, introducing you to National Parks dotting each of Florida's coasts. 

Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and The Grand Canyon all claim notoriety among great National Parks. Florida has its fair share as well. 

"We're part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve,” says Park Ranger Emily Palmer proudly, as she greets a group of visitors steps away from the Fort George River.

Just north of Jacksonville awaits a preserve stretching 46,000 acres, home to centuries of history.

"The southern-most skirmish of the American Revolution!" Emily says with enthusiasm as her Sunday afternoon tour begins.

The salt marshes and hardwood hammocks at the Kingsley Plantation are now home for the Akron native.

"We are a baby National Park. This only became a National Park Service site in 1991,” Emily says.

The Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island is preserved by the National Park Service to provoke thought of life before the Civil War, when not all Americans were free.

"There are some beautiful, amazing places, but also some sad histories, that are all of our histories; all of our stories,” Emily confirms.

Weekend tours into the stately manor move from room to room and tell the story of Anna and Zephaniah Kingsley. The mixed-race couple lived on these grounds during the Florida frontier.

"Their story is one that we tell, one of many stories, of both the free and the enslaved,” Emily says.

A short walk from the house, visitors will find a living example of the cotton crop that was tended to by slaves. Within walking distance, and almost out of sight, the walls of the slave quarters remain.

"History shaped us. And I think that's important for everybody to come and find out,” says visitor Joe Trahan, a history buff from Atlanta.

Visitors can still stroll the “tabby-made” walls of the single room homes belonging to the slaves. Tabby, a cement-like mixture of oyster shells, sand and water formed the walls, while the roofs were made of wood. Decades of rainstorms, summer heat and termites have ravaged the rooftops.

“We always wanted to come see this preserve,” says Joe. “I had a teacher in the fourth grade that just lit this torch of history.”

In his younger years, Joe mowed grass for the National Park Service, while earning a degree in history from Ball State. Joe believes what we learn from history, we learn about ourselves.

"I think it's important to tell the world, how diversity brings us strength,” he says.

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is made up of several historic sites. Fort Caroline offers a look into the short-lived French presence during the sixteenth century, while Cedar Point is perfect for launching canoes and kayaks.

"Weaving together these different stories and these amazing places, is really the tapestry of America,” Emily says.

NOTE: Tours of the Kingsley Plantation are available only on weekends. Reservations are encouraged, since the floors of the older house cannot hold the weight of too many visitors.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand

Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then SCROLL DOWN to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/8/3/kingsley_plantation/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.png/1470312094661.png
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: A beach that's gone to the dogs]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/7/28/summer_dog_beach/?cid=rss Fri, 29 Jul 2016 5:00 AM Scott Fais If you've ever felt guilty about leaving your best friend at home while you step out for a day at the beach, now you don't have to.

  • Honeymoon Island State Park is in Pinellas County
  • Island is one of the last natural barrier islands in the county
  • The park includes a dog beach

Riley is a pretty lucky pup.

"We wanted to take her to a dog beach where she could run around and swim, because she loves to do that,” says Gracy Hardin, a new puppy owner.

The dog days of summer include a trip to the beach in Dunedin.

"She needs some exercise,” Hardin says of Riley, who’s smaller than a house cat at 3 months old.

Honeymoon Island State Park is Florida’s most visited state park with more than 1.2 million pouring through the gates. Even with the crowds, Jack Cassidy from Vail, Colorado is a fan as he holds Riley’s leash.

"It's pretty peaceful, pretty tranquil,” Cassidy says.

There’s good reason for that.

"It's one of the last remaining natural barrier islands here on the coast of Pinellas County,” boasts park manager Peter Krulder.

Dog treats, fresh water, a blanket and a 6-foot-long leash are a must.

"Dogs are going to do what dogs are going to do,” Krulder says a with a laugh. But the 6-foot-long-leash rule is no laughing matter.

"We have shorebirds that come out here and nest. We also have eastern diamondback rattlesnakes,” Krulder says.

According to Krulder, the only time dogs have been bit have been when they were off leash. The snakes, nor the rain, seemed to ruin Cassidy or Riley’s day at Honeymoon Island State Park.

"It's a pretty secluded place with a lot of versatility,” Cassidy firmly believes.

"Dogs love the water out here," he says.

Good to know:
Entry fee is $8 per car. The park is open from 8 a.m. to sundown, 365 days a year. Dog owners should plan to bring fresh water, shade and a blanket. Tents are allowed on the sand. More on the Honeymoon Island State Park dog beach can be found here.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand

Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then SCROLL DOWN to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/7/28/summer_dog_beach/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.jpg/1469782903771.jpg
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Cocoa Beach Surf School]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/7/27/cocoa_beach_surf_sch/?cid=rss Thu, 28 Jul 2016 5:00 AM Scott Fais Getting up on a surfboard can take some practice.

Fortunately, instructor Jake Olson has you covered in the best summer school class in Florida.

  • Cocoa Beach Surf School is run by Flohana
  • Students are led in surf drills and safety procedures
  • Company also rents boards

"I've had 6-year-olds all the way up to 65-year-olds,” says Jake, an instructor with Flohana, who operates the Cocoa Beach Surf School by Flohana.

The iconic Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier serves as the backdrop as students grab a board and first hit the sand for practice.

"Most people we get have never been in the ocean,” Jake says as class begins.

Students are lead in a series of drills and safety instructions in the shade under the boardwalk before heading into the water.

"Paddle bro! Paddle hard! Now pop up. Sideways. BOOM! That's it!!” Jake shouts like a coach, as though a wave were approaching. The only wave here is that of the stares of bystanders walking past the pier at the students lying on surfboards in the sand.

Practicing standing on dry land is the first step to standing up on a board.

"Realistically, out there is going to be a lot tougher,” Jake warns.

Yet, as Amber Henley discovered, practice makes perfection.

"I'm from Kansas. I play basketball and run track. I don't surf."

That's until this summer, following plenty of wipeouts for Amber.

"I don't think I have enough fingers or toes to count,” Amber admits. After several lessons, she now joins Jake as an assistant instructor.

"You got it dude. That's it, man,” Jake says as the on-land practice wraps up.

With that, Cocoa Beach Surf School by Flohana students grab their foamy boards, built for buoyancy and head out into the Atlantic. Each board is bulky, heavy and equipped with rubber fins, to reduce the chance of injury and increase the odds you’ll be able to stand up.

"Everybody has to have a leash, that way, your board doesn't take off,” Jake says as students get attached to their board.

He then takes students out into the Atlantic, where they attempt to catch a wave.

Once you're lying on the board, chest down, Jake then points the nose of the surfboards towards the beach. When the right wave appears, Jake pushes riders forward and then shout instructions.

“Pop up, dude!”

From the shore, Amber runs play-by-play.

"Much better than the first one,” Amber says on Scott’s second attempt. “He's lasting longer ... Uh oh!"

After standing for several seconds, Scott tumbles, falling victim to the surf.

Students are given several chances to get up on the boards during an hour or two hour lesson. One-on-one lessons and group sessions are available.

"When you're learning, you are going to fall,” Jake says. “That's part of the fun."

The waters around the Cocoa Beach Pier are shallow. In fact, during low tide, the water level at the end of the pier is only waist deep. Lifeguards will keep swimmers out of a designated “surf zone” reserved for surfers only. This way, novices will not have to worry about hitting a swimmer in their path.

"Scott's getting it pretty well,” Amber concludes at the end of the lesson.

For those who want to return to class, the Cocoa Beach Surf School by Flohana also rents boards, minus the instruction, so you can practice again next weekend.

"You're about a seven or an eight, man,” Jack says scoring Scott’s performance. “Just getting up and catching the wave is good."

Lessons begin at 9 a.m. daily and conclude around 5 p.m.

"I've never had anyone not stand up, and luckily, you guys didn't break my streak today, so I am stoked about that,” Jake concludes.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand
Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then SCROLL DOWN to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411.  And here at home on Channel 999.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/7/27/cocoa_beach_surf_sch/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.jpg/1469698736060.jpg
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Cruising with the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/7/21/aquatic_preserves_cr/?cid=rss Fri, 22 Jul 2016 4:45 AM Scott Fais In this part of Gasparilla Sound, a special eco cruise sets sail, if you can score a ticket.

Folks keep cameras in hand as sea birds and playful dolphin are along the course plotted for discovery off the coast of Placida.

"You're going to make sure all the hair is away from your face,” instructs Stephanie Erickson with the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve as guests get a lesson on fastening dive masks. 

On board, six people who are about to jump overboard, like 10-year-old Rachel Daniels.

"I want to be a marine biologist and maybe a diver,” Rachel says with her hair blowing in the breeze as the pontoon boat approaches the dive site.

The shallow waters give participants a look at the Gulf coast’s rich eco system.

"I get to explore an eco-system that some other people might not see,” Rachel’s father Sean says before heading overboard.

With the dive buoy set, Rachel and Sean comb the grassy bottom for aquatic life and come up with handfuls.

"That was a sea cucumber. I named him Filbert," Rachel says of the red potato-sized creature. "He's Squishy."

Other creatures awaiting to be admired in their natural setting include crabs.

"They have really small claws. It's not like they can get you that bad,” Rachel says of the creature with pinchers.

Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves provides all the gear and an education on the lightning whelk and horse conchs.

"It's great to see that excitement and enthusiasm for what's out here,” says Stephanie Erickson with the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves office.

The educator on board assists in explaining the unique inhabitants of the estuary.

The trip leaves Rachel inspired to take action in the future on behalf of sharks, her favorite animal.

"Those people who like shark fin, I am going to try and ban that and have little reserves where sharks can be happy,” Rachel said.

Sign-ups for the tour are hosted here, on Event Bright.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand
Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then SCROLL DOWN to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly
Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411.  And here at home on Channel 999.

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/7/21/aquatic_preserves_cr/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.jpg/1469177822882.jpg
<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary]]> http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/7/19/_octagon_wildlife_sa/?cid=rss Thu, 21 Jul 2016 4:45 AM Scott Fais "It's the wildest old age home in Florida,” says Sandy O'Grady under a shady hammock.

The welcome mat is out at the Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda.

"We don't buy, sell or breed,” Sandy says of the 38-year-old sanctuary who rescues unwanted and neglected exotic animals.

"We found them in a development behind Sam's Club in Port Charlotte,” she says standing next to an enclosure belonging to Tigers.

The retired tug boat captain, who later laid the bedrock for Interstate 95 among other careers is paving forward with compassion.

"We take the animals that have been abused, neglected and mistreated, and we try to make them as healthy and as happy as we can, for as long a life as they can possibly live,” Sandy says of Octagon’s mission.

"Hey Ross. Hey, How are you?” she gently asks of a monkey.

The Charlotte County sanctuary rescues exotic animals from circus's and abusive homes. A hyena, purchased as a pet by a male stripper, was saved from his 5th floor Miami condo. A tiger used as a prop for photography never had it’s bones formed properly. And then there is Teddy, the one-eyed bobcat.

"His eye got infected,” Sandy says.

The unwanted here are given a forever home. While federal agencies will call upon Sandy, Octagon receives no financial support from the government.

"We have no glitter or glamour around here,” Sandy says of the open-air facility that meets national and state regulations governing how bears, lions and tigers are cared for. In fact, some have televisions.

"He doesn't like building shows or there's certain cooking shows he doesn't like,” Sandy says of a monkey who does not like certain TV programs.

The animals eat twice a week and have their homes cleaned by a volunteer workforce.

"It's our duty, as people, to take care of God's creatures until he wants them,” Sandy concludes.

NOTE: The Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda is open weekends from 11a.m. — 4 p.m.  Weekday visits are by appointment only in the mornings.  The afternoons are reserved for feeding, cleaning and animal rest.

Tankful on Television

You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand

Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the Travel category. Then scroll down to Tankful.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411.  And here at home on Channel 999. 

]]>
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/articles/cfn/2016/7/19/_octagon_wildlife_sa/jcr:content/contentpar/articleBody/image.img.jpg/1469091410451.jpg