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This is a view of the learning center and an adjoining building. It was from a visit in 2012.
Archbold Biological Station
Closest available address
123 Main Drive Venus, Florida 33960
Open Mon.-Fri. 8-5, all visitors are asked to register at the main office.
Best time to visit
Fall, Winter, Spring
Archbold Biological Station is a 5,193-acre research, education and conservation facility that protects an endangered ecosystem in central Florida called the Lake Wales Ridge. In addition to the core property, the station owns an adjoining 3,648 acre reserve and leases a 10,500 ranch for conservation purposes. The facility is open to the public on a limited basis for day visits. A learning center has some informational signs. There also are a couple hiking trails and a film.
The station has an interesting and serendipitous origin. It was established from a chance meeting in 1940 between Richard Archbold and Donald Roebling, who knew each other from their school years. Roebling was planning to donate his family’s Florida property to a worthy cause. Archbold, who was a scientist, researcher and adventurer, had planned to go to New Guinea on a natural research expedition but the onset of World War II prevented the trip. Wishing to continue his scientific and conservation pursuits, Archbold and Roebling discussed their interests and an idea for the conservation facility was born. Archbold then commenced to build the station. When he passed away in 1976, Archbold left his sizable wealth to the station.
There are two shorter hiking trails, each are under a mile, but they were not especially enjoyable or informative and the longer one was overgrown in places. Learning center signs provide background on the station, local habitat and the center's energy efficiency. The information was only moderately interesting and not enough to warrant a visit. An orientation video about the station was better. It was narrated by Bill Kurtis and was educational and at times quite moving. The station is planning some guided tours and related visitor events commencing in late 2013 or early 2014, but none were available at the time. While the station's conservation work is laudable and significant, as an excursion it comes up short due to lack of activities and modest facilities.
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