A natural treat for Mom

Published May 11, 2007

Mother's Day is Sunday. Yes, this Sunday. But don't panic. We know that not everyone can afford brunch at a posh waterfront resort, so we've compiled a list of scenic places to take Mom for her day. Best of all: They're all free.

So why not surprise Mom with a picnic? Fill a cute, colorful tote with colorful plastic ware. Many parks' picnic shelters can be reserved, so call today if you'll have the whole family in tow.

Food-wise, you can hit up your favorite deli or fill the tote with cheese, crackers, salads, fruit, dips, spreads and other yummies that don't need to be heated.

Remember, most parks prohibit alcoholic beverages. Make Mom feel special with sparkling cider or her favorite nonalcoholic drink.

Finally, spend quality time with Mom. Turn off the cell phone, put away the iPod. Bring a blanket, sunscreen, bug spray and antibacterial hand gel.

Go hiking, swimming, biking or whatever Mom wants, and for once, don't make her clean up after you.

1. Florida Botanical Gardens

Native and tropical plants are on display in several gardens. Free admission. Pets are allowed on leashes. No grilling.

Where: 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo

Call: (727) 582-2100

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On the Web: www.flbg.org

2. Sand Key Park

Swim in the gulf and grill in the park area. There's a dog park, but dogs aren't allowed at the beach.

Where: 1060 Gulf Blvd.


Call: (727) 588-4852

Hours: 7 a.m. to dark

On the Web: pinellascounty.org/ park/15_Sand_Key.htm

3. Hammock Park

Five miles of nature trails, great for bird watchers. Playground areas.

Where: 1900 San Mateo Drive, Dunedin

Call: (727) 298-3278

Hours: Sunrise to sunset

On the Web: dunedingov.com (click on Leisure Services, then parks).

4. Wall Springs Park

The 195-acre park includes a spring once used as a spa. For a leafy spot, follow the trail west past the spring, past the bayou and to the western sector.

Where: 3725 De Soto Blvd., Palm Harbor

Call: (727) 943-4653

Hours: 7 a.m. to dark

On the Web: pinellascounty. org/park/21_Wall_Springs.htm

5. A.L. Anderson Park

Tons of picnic spots to choose from with views overlooking Lake Tarpon. Trails and shady areas.

Where: 39699 U.S. 19 N, Tarpon Springs

Call: (727) 943-4085

Hours: 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

On the Web: pinellascounty.org/ park/01_Anderson.htm

6. Philippe Park

The oldest park in the county with beautiful views of Old Tampa Bay. Lots of shade.

Where: 2525 Philippe Parkway, Safety Harbor

Call: (727) 669-1947

Hours: 7 a.m. to dark

On the Web: pinellascounty.org/ park/11_Philippe.htm

7. R.E. Olds Park

Only 15 acres, this park sits on Tampa Bay and has a fishing pier, picnic facilities and a playground.

Where: 107 Shore Drive W, Oldsmar

Call: (813) 818-0149

Hours: Dusk to dawn

On the Web: ci.oldsmar.fl.us/ Leisure_Svcs/ls_parks.htm