Hidden gems: Trout Lake Nature Center

Few places fit the description of a hidden gem more so than Trout Lake Nature Center. Quite literally hidden, with an entrance that resembles a tunnel of trees along a rural stretch of highway, the reward for making the trip to Trout Lake Nature Center is one of the most immersive nature reserves you're ever to experience. With multiple trails, a museum, a diorama of wildlife, and highly-educated scientists that serve as tour guides for the public, the Trout Lake Nature Center is truly a diamond in the rough, and worthy of a trip for anyone with the slightest interest in the nature of Florida.

Parking and public transportation at Trout Lake
Parking is plentiful at the Trout Lake Nature Center, with at least 50 spots available. Even during speaking engagements with a full audience, finding a decent spot should not be an issue.

Best and worst time to go to Trout Lake
Hours are seasonal at Trout Lake Nature Center. Currently the schedule is for Summer hours, so they are closed Monday, and open from 9-4 Tuesday through Saturday, and from 12-4 on Sunday. For an updated summary of their current hours, visit the Trout Lake website.

Admission to Trout Lake
There is no admission fee to visit Trout Lake Nature Center, including its museum, dioramas, hiking trails, and events.

Must see and do at Trout Lake
  • Hike the trail to Trout Lake while watching for wildlife including gators and otters.
  • Visit the museum and diorama to learn about plants and animals of the local ecosystem.
  • Check the calendar for updates on presentations, tours, and events.
Other places to visit near Trout Lake
The Mason Jar
To wind up or down from a hike at Trout Lake Nature Center, this local restaurant offers a massive variety of BBQ-inspired options, ranging from a Jar-B-Que Chicken Sandwich to Short Rib Ravioli.

Ferran Park
To switch the pace from a natural, adventurous setting to an urban park with a walk along Lake Eustis, check out the nearby Ferran Park, which is situated along the waterline of Downtown Eustis.

Olivia's Coffee House
With entertainment on Thursdays, Fridays, and weekends, in addition to a menu that includes dozens of sandwich, ice cream, and salad options, Olivia's Coffee House is a fun local café that offers something for everyone.

Insider tip for visitors to Trout Lake
Walk the Trout Lake Adventure Trail which features a swing-bridge and up-close look at local plant and wildlife. On site trail cams have captured a wide array of animals along the trails, including bobcats, snakes, and wild boars.

Author's bio: After a seven year career in the US Navy, Nicholas Napier completed his MBA and settled in California. He's published over 40 articles as the San Diego Fitness Trends Examiner, and regularly contributes as a freelance writer to various companies.