Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center

The Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center opened in the fall of 2002 through the support of the Friends of Weedon Island and is run by Pinellas County. It focuses on the natural, cultural, and archaeological history of the preserve. Exhibits feature interactive displays on the ancient and present-day history and the unique wildlife habitats found within the 3,700 acre Weedon Island Preserve, located on Tampa Bay.

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Nestled deep within the preserve is the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center. Dedicated to reconnecting people with the environment, the center offers interpretive hikes, workshops, exhibits and other programs for public enjoyment.


In 2011, archaeologists and volunteers excavated an ancient dugout canoe from the shoreline of Weedon Island Preserve. The canoe was first discovered by a local resident in 2001. Initial arrangements to document and investigate the canoe, revealed a pine dugout canoe measuring 12.17 meters (39.9 feet), from bow to broken stern. The Weedon Island canoe is far longer than any other dugout found in Florida and is the only one directly associated with a saltwater environment. The canoe has suffered damage from mangrove roots and oyster growth, and the sides are deteriorated. Radiocarbon testing yielded a date of AD 690 – 1010. The makers of the canoe are considered to belong to the Manasota culture, a prehistoric Native American people who hunted and fished the bay, leaving shell mounds along the coast. Interpretation on how the canoe was used is still under study and analysis.

Friends of Weedon Island and the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education are partners in the preservation of the canoe, a lengthy and expensive process. A specially constructed conservation tank funded by the FOWI and overseen by AWIARE held the sections of the canoe in a special bath of polyethylene glycol. Once the slow wood penetration treatment was completed, the canoe was reassembled and put on display at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center.


 

PLAN YOUR VISIT

ADDRESS: 1800 Weedon Drive NE St. Petersburg, FL 33702
PHONE: (727) 453-6500
HOURS: (Cultural Center) Thursday - Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed all county observed holidays (Preserve) Open daily, 7 a.m. to time posted (approximately 15 minutes before sunset). Daily closing time is posted at the entrance to the preserve. Weedon Island Preserve is closed on the day after Thanksgiving and Dec. 25.
WEBSITE: www.weedonislandpreserve.org


page information credit: Pinellas County, Weedon Island Preserve, AWIARE, Friends of Weedon Island, Wikipedia, University of South Florida
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors