Sunday, April 10, 2016


The Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park is a Florida State Park ( ) and is located on the outskirts of Tallahassee.  At the very first site where my friend and I were able to park the car to look around, the first thing that caught our attention was a big warning sign about alligators, BUT with dozens of people standing in the body of water we were being cautioned about!  The image stuck in my head so much, that I am using it as a visual aid about "obeying commands"!
This sign about alligators has a "commandment" saying "DO NOT FEED THE ALLIGATORS"!  You can be sure I obeyed that commandment!  Likewise, I want to remember this visual aid to help me learn one of my First Place 4 Health ( ) memory verses that says, "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."  John 14:21
In addition to the swimmers in the water, we saw folks in kayaks, seeming to encircle the swimmers.  My assumption that the "circling kayakers" were there to protect the swimmers from alligators, was only partially correct.  As it turns out, the folks in the water were training for the Redhills Sprint Triathlon, which was scheduled for later that month.  The kayak patrol was there to  offer guidance, assistance, encouragement, and rules-compliance, for the competitors.  For more information on this annual event, check out their website at   .

The water temperature was still too chilly for an enjoyable swim, plus there was a rainy mist falling---which explains why all the swimmers had on wetsuits.

This photo shows the swim area, as well as the sandy beach and launch ramp for the body of water known as Lake Hall.

The area has picnic tables, covered pavilion, and lifeguard tower, and is nestled under the massive trees, dripping with Spanish moss.

The park also has kayaks for rent, although they were not available for rent at the time we were there, due to the triathlon training that was taking place 

Lake Hall forms the border of a portion of the park, and the far side of the lake is lined with private property and private homes (which are obscured by fog in this photo).

The park is also the home of the Tallahassee Rowing Club, as evidenced by these sleek looking vessels, known as "sculls" or "rowing shells". 

The park is part of a U.S. Historic District, known as Killearn Plantation Archaeology Historic District.  Maclay named his property "Killearn" after the birthplace of his great grandfather in Scotland. 

This photo shows the trail head for one of several hiking trails within the park. 

The red brick sidewalk leads to the Visitor's Center, which also serves as the entrance to the formal gardens.  There is an additional fee to go through the gardens, and depending on the time of year, may include a tour of the original home of Mr. and Mrs. Maclay. 

The hostess at the Visitor Center invited us to take a seat to watch the video about the history of the gardens.  We learned that they were originated in 1923 by Alfred Barmore Maclay (1871-1944) and his wife Louise Fleischman Maclay.  After Mr. Maclay's death, his widow ( who is from the family of "Fleischman's Margarine" fame), donated them to the state of Florida. 

My friend and I enjoyed a picnic lunch under one of the covered areas shown in the photo, and as you can see, had the place completely to ourselves, even though it was on a Saturday!  I am sure the misty weather conditions were keeping down the visitors, and imagine that this place is normally filled with folks enjoying the outdoors. 

Since there was not another single person at the swim beach, which had been full of people just about an hour earlier, I was a little surprised to see a new-looking pair of "Crocs" sandals setting on the beach, without any signs of who might have been their owner.
Seeing this pair of abandoned "Crocs" shoes made me wonder if the owner accidentally lost them, or if they were all that was left after the alligator ate whoever was wearing them!  It made me remember the old nursery rhyme that says "See ya later, alligator; after while, crocodile!"  Thinking of this gave me "MILES OF SMILES"!!   Tricia