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“A must see for everybody.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
(904) 823-4500
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Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
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Owner description: The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve) is dedicated to the conservation of natural biodiversity and cultural resources through research and monitoring to guide science-based stewardship and education strategies. The GTM Research Reserve was formed through a collaboration of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It covers 74,000 acres of coastal lands in northeast Florida from Ponte Vedra Beach to Palm Coast. The GTM Research Reserve is part of a national system of research reserves that focus on research, education and stewardship. The GTM Research Reserve has a 21,000 square foot Environmental Education Center which includes interpretive exhibits, aquariums, classrooms, teaching and working laboratories, an auditorium and an outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Guana River Aquatic Preserve. Education staff offer programming for all ages on the importance of estuarine ecosystems. A Coastal Training Program offers training for professionals on issues of concern in our local community including watershed, invasive plants and much more.
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“A must see for everybody.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2012 via mobile

We live in the area and come here as often as possible. Lots of wildlife. I recommend this for everyone both near and far

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53 reviews from our community

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Jacksonville, Florida
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Always amazing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2012

You see a few kinds of wildlife each time (armadillos, tortoises, deer, cranes, birds, alligators if you're lucky). Bikes are great for non-sandy trails. Bring plenty of water, a hat and a picnic to make a day of it!

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange Park, Florida
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“A Don't Miss for Nature Enthusiasts and Hikers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2012

This is a true gem located between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Pick up a map and learn about the local plant and animal life at the science center before heading up to the trails or fishing area. The exhibit is very well done, the staff is informative, and the bathrooms are spotless.

On the way to the trails you will pass an area where fishing is the primary activity. Fisherman can be seen on shore and wading in an area know to be visited by the local alligator. Wade at your own risk.

Once you get to the trail head you will have several routes to choose from. Generally, the staff will post a sign if portions of some of the trails are impassable due to flooding. I have made the mistake of not taking these signs seriously and found myself wading through knee deep water to progress through one of the trails. You will have the opportunity to see all sorts of wildlife including alligators, turtles, rodents, armadillos and foxes. While not mentioned on the information board at the trail head, on several occasions I have notice deer tracks along the trails as well as what appears to be feral hog tracks. If I'm incorrect about the hogs I'm sure I'll be corrected. I also saw a rather large paw print that I'm guessing was either a Bobcat or Coyote.

The following are a few items that I highly recommend bringing for a trip to the park.

For Hikers and Cyclists: WATER, INSECT REPELLANT, hand towels, hat, sunglasses, camera, a change of clothes (including shoes), snacks and a plastic bag for your trash.

Have fun!

Visited August 2012
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Saint Augustine, Florida
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
43 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
“Hidden Treasure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2012

This truly is a hidden treasure. There are miles and miles of trails (including the Wildlife Management Area) with beautiful scenery and an abundance of wildlife including alligators, wild boar, whitetail deer, turkeys, owls and a wide variety of birds. Everytime we go we see something new and unexpected. A great place if you like the woods and wildlife.

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dayton, Ohio, United States
Top Contributor
151 reviews 151 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
81 helpful votes 81 helpful votes
“Impressive!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2012

We've been to GTM-NERR twice now, and both times found it well worth the visit. Admission is cheap, the displays are wonderfully clear and informative (and sometimes humorous--the migration patterns maps include "human" and everyone comes to Florida),

I was a little disappointed this time to find the place understaffed/underfunded perhaps a bit. The gift shop was closed, and one of the displays wasn't working. The local fauna compensated; there was a gopher tortoise grazing next to the parking lot, and a number of shore birds were roosting on their deck, nicely sorted into groups by species.

It will take a typical visitor one to two hours to fully enjoy the museum. If you want to use their docks and hiking trails or take on one of their special programs, the pleasure could be extended to all day or longer.

This place is a treasure for those who enjoy learning about nature, and I plan to hunt down other NOAA esturary centers to find out if they have similar facilities for future trip planning.

Visited June 2012
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