Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation provides seniors an opportunity to see nature and enjoy a healthy active lifestyle

On a crisp but sunny December morning, a group of Hillsborough County residents boarded a Hillsborough County van at Roy Haynes Park & Recreation Center and headed to Tarpon Springs. After a breakfast full of conversations, they headed to the iconic Sponge Docks, where they shopped for natural sponges and soaps, chatted and laughed, and strolled down the streets of the charming docks.

Then came the highlight of the afternoon - a boat ride on the Anclote River, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The excursion included a narrated dolphin cruise and island walk, sights of dolphins and birds, and a view of the Anclote Key Lighthouse, which was built in 1887. On Anclote Key, the participants explored the beach for shells and sand dollars.

The outing was part of the County's Parks & Recreation's Seniors Outdoor Active Recreation (SOAR) program, which introduces nature and a healthy active lifestyle to the seniors of Hillsborough County.

"If it were not for these opportunities, I wouldn't get to go, so they are just amazing," said resident Melodie Rivenbark, who joined the group on the outing. "It introduces me to so many things that I never knew about. I appreciate it. It's important that we get out and see our wonderful community and socialize with one another. And it's very inexpensive."

Parks & Recreation provides transportation from one of its nine departing locations throughout Hillsborough County for the monthly outings. Participants pay no or minimal cost for the trips.

"I'm going to places that I haven't seen before," said resident Ann Pipkins. "I've been to Tarpon Springs, but not to this part of the water. This is great, especially since we don't have to drive."

Upcoming SOAR outings include visits to the Manatee Viewing Center and Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network, Hillsborough County Veterans Memorial Park & Museum, Ybor City Tour and Trolley Ride, and the Plant City Farm and Flea Market.

For future trips departing from North County, contact Ron Housenick at (813) 410-4089. For trips departing from South County, contact Dan MacWhorter at (813) 599-6469.

North departing locations

South departing locations

Photo Information: A group of Hillsborough County residents recently participated in a Parks & Recreation Seniors Outdoor Active Recreation (SOAR) trip to Tarpon Springs that included shopping at the Sponge Docks, a boat ride and narrated dolphin cruise, and shelling at Anclote Key.
Posted: 1/10/2024, 4:49:40 PM