Behind the scenes with President Bill Tinsley
The weather has been kind to us the past several weeks, allowing truckloads of concrete and asphalt to be placed. Work on the paths and the roadway continues to progress at a steady pace. Of particular importance, is getting the architectural concrete slabs enclosing the entrances to the Florida Children’s Museum and The Depot done. Along with the installation of doors and windows this month, it allows us to move forward in a cleaner condition as installation of over 1600 sheets of drywall in the Museum are installed. Electricians from Moore Power will follow with building lighting and electrical as the final room shapes are revealing themselves.
We are seeing final finishes at the Event Center and the Hollis Family Welcome Center as these facilities are coming to life. Good progress at the Event Center outdoor kitchen is being wrapped up by the Danielle Fence team of installers. Countertops and under-counter equipment installation reveal the quality this outdoor meeting space is going to offer at the top of the Harrell Family Gardens. A special design feature on this complex is the exclusive use of rain chains to convey the roof’s rain to the underground drainage system. When the summer rains do return, it is a real show to see the water travel this open path.
Updated photos of the site reveal the spectacular Crenshaw Canopy Walk under construction. This elevated walkway is a meandering elevated trail that will allow visitors to let their imagination run wild on the 1,600-foot journey winding through the treetops. This section of the Park boasts of the highest concentration of wildlife in the Park and can also be enjoyed near ground level along the easter shore of the Blanton Family Lagoon, via the nature boardwalk. If it is an aquatic adventure you seek, the paddle boat or canoe option also allows visitors admission into this special adventure.
The Butterfly House construction has begun and will move very rapidly. This unique building will be home to beautiful butterfly habitat as well as house a unique fountain water feature designed with the capacity to filter the water through its own micro wetland system.
The Ann and Ward Edwards Boathouse, located on the north end of the Blanton Family Lagoon is framed and the beautiful clear cedar planks make it look like it always belonged there. Just a short walk on the connecting boardwalk will get you to the Givewell Community Foundation Nature Center. With the exterior completed and the windows and doors being installed, finishes will follow immediately. The wonderful group of volunteers that are working with our team and Creative Arts Unlimited, our exhibit designers, are putting the finishing touches on the exhibits to be housed here. The story of water, pollinators, birds, reptiles, flowers and plants will be displayed in this exciting learning environment.
Our look ahead into the next few weeks promise continued success as we inch toward the finish line. Every day is filled with the excitement of seeing the amenities and finishes continue to demonstrate the genius of the Sasaki design and the vision of our founders. Replacement plant materials and establishing additional areas continue to define the experiences you will enjoy in the Park.
Behind the scenes with CEO Josh Henderson
Spring is coming! It seems to have been a longer, colder winter than I remember in Central FL. As the Park construction continues toward completion, there is an anticipation of what the springtime will bring to our horticulture environment. Our landscaping continues to mature and we are still identifying areas that need extra sod, seed and trees in an effort to reduce erosion and keep the dirt exactly where we want and need it.
The beauty of the Florida Children’s Museum building can easily be seen from Kathleen Road now. What can’t be seen are the amazing structures sitting in the heart of the park…the Givewell Community Foundation Nature Center, Kiwanis Cares for Kids Treehouse, and the Ann and Ward Edwards Boathouse. While pictures have not been shared yet, the Crenshaw Canopy Walk is progressing nicely and will be another iconic feature in the heart of the Park as well. There will be many great experiences worth repeating over and over again.
Unfortunately, construction has been hampered by the events that have unfolded in our world over the past couple of years. We hope to announce an opening date soon. Staying focused on what a tremendous gift this Park will be to Lakeland and the surrounding community is essential during this period of time.
Boy Scout Project 🌿
Bonnet Springs Park recently had the pleasure of working with Jared, a Boy Scout looking to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. With insight from Park President, Bill Tinsley, and additional community members, Jared built homes for a few of our resident owls. The owls have been hanging out at our maintenance building and the new homes will allow them to live safely within the Park! Jared determined the best wood for the owl boxes, measurements, and where they should be hung. Soon you will be able to spot the boxes along the Crenshaw Canopy Walk. Thank you to Jared and the rest of his troop for contributing to the safety of the wildlife at our Park!
The Event Center Update 🌿
Soon to become Central Florida’s premier location for weddings, corporate events, and more, the Event Center is coming along nicely! Large events can enjoy up to 7,000 square feet of available space, including the Citizens Bank & Trust Ballroom, which will feature the latest in lighting and audio/digital capabilities. As we get closer to the grand opening of the Park, we will announce when the Event Center is open for rental. Our hearts are warm thinking about all of the beautiful memories that will be made in the Event Center!
The Kiwanis Cares for Kids Treehouse 🌿
Situated in the canopy of our old oak grove is the Kiwanis Cares for Kids Treehouse. Thanks to a winding ramp, the Treehouse will offer a bird’s eye view of the Park that will be accessible to all members of the family. When not reserved for birthday parties or small group gatherings, the Treehouse will be available to be enjoyed by all visitors of the Park. We thank the Lakeland Kiwanis Club for sponsoring what is sure to be a community treasure!
Leave Your Mark on the Park!
Looking to leave a lasting legacy at Bonnet Springs Park? We’ve got you covered! Visit our site to learn more about sponsoring engraved bricks. Purchases of bricks purchased after 9/30 cannot be guaranteed to be placed by the grand opening. For more information, contact Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give a Gift of Friendship!
As a Founding Friend, help us grow our membership! A Founding Friends annual household membership is ONLY $30.00. It also makes a great gift!
Give a Founding Friends membership as a birthday, graduation, or wedding gift! Be an advocate for the park and be sure to tell people everywhere that you go about the great work that is being done to bring this amazing resource to the community. There are still so many people who haven’t yet heard about Bonnet Springs. Be sure to tell your friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and fellow members at the organizations where you belong, such as PTA, sports teams, church groups, social and civic clubs to go to www.bonnetspringspark.com and become a Founding Friend!
Founding Friends is a unique group of individuals and families who have demonstrated their support of Bonnet Springs Park prior to the Grand Opening.