Circle B Bar Reserve

There was a time when cattle and cowboys roamed Circle B Bar Reserve. But what was once a functioning cattle ranch is now recognized by USA Today Travel as one of the 51 Great Places to See Wildlife.

From Cattle Call to Call of the Wild

It is considered one of the best places for birding in Central Florida as a result of the Banana Creek marsh system. In a nutshell: don’t visit the reserve without your camera, your Instagram followers will thank you.

Remnants of the cattle ranch days, such as pens and barns, still remain on the property and serve as a rustic backdrop for many a family and senior portraits. Yeehaw!

Circle B Bar Reserve
Circle B Bar Reserve

Something For Everyone

If you like options, or have picky traveling partners, you’ll be relieved to know that Circle B Bar Reserve offers options for everyone in your family. Bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, birding and picnicking are all encouraged. And you can’t go wrong with a simple quite walk.

Circle B Bar Reserve
Circle B Bar Reserve

Gators And Eagles And Birding! Oh My!

Alligator Alley is popular with international nature photographers.

— Tabitha B

Don’t forget your logbook and binoculars - it’s nothing to spot an osprey feeding its young, eagle soaring or Anhinga dive-bombing a fish when out and about at Circle B Bar Reserve. The 1,267 acre property features several diverse habitats including freshwater marshes, hardwood swamps, oak hammocks, creeks and lakes, which are home to a wide variety of ducks, shorebirds, wading birds, native and migrant landbirds, ospreys, bald eagles, and to more than 45 species of butterflies.

A trip wouldn't be complete without an alligator sighting, which is quite common and can be safely done from the preserve's pier, shoreline, or the infamous Alligator Alley.

If Your Shoes WEREN’T made for Walking

Look, there is no shame in not having the desire to hike the beautiful, wilderness of Circle B, whether it be a physical disability, Jet Lag or summer heat that’s ailing you. Thankfully, there is a way to enjoy the beauty of the reserve AND gain a little more knowledge while you’re at it: a free tram tour. Yep, you can sit on your rear while a staff member discusses the unique habitats you encounter, and still get ample wildlife sightings and photo opportunities. As a bonus, the moving tram provides a gentle breeze that is oh, so relaxing.

Nature Discovery Center at Circle B Bar Reserve
Nature Discovery Center at Circle B Bar Reserve

Polk Nature Discovery Center

Circle B Bar Reserve isn’t your run-of-the-mill reserve. They have an awesome indoor Polk Nature Discovery Center loaded down with life-size ecosystem and animal reproductions that entertain and educate and engage young minds. You’ll enjoy learning about Central Florida’s delicate ecosystem, too.

The Discovery Center is also the hub for information about the preserve. Stop in for trail maps and information about the best wildlife viewing areas before heading out for your adventure, and you'll be sure to impress your friends and family.

Important Note: Circle B Bar Reserve is a nature reserve, please help protect the resident wildlife by following some basic rules while visiting. NO pets, NO Balloons and NO Music. Enjoy what nature has to offer on its own.

Address / Location

4399 Winter Lake Rd
Lakeland, FL 33803
Get Directions

Contact Info

Visit Website

Hours of Operation

Open Daily Dawn - Dusk
Discovery Center: Tuesday - Saturday 9:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Discovery Center: Sunday Noon - 4:00 p.m.


5 Star Rating

Child friendly is subjective in this instance. You'll want to keep kids close and in some areas quiet to respect and not disturb nesting wildlife. However if you want to teach them about wild habitat... Read Full Review

3 Star Rating

It's a nice place to go with your family for a walk. My family and I went there for a walk and we were able to see alligators and so many different types of birds and flowers. Some people were taking... Read Full Review

5 Star Rating

If You Enjoy Getting Away From The World For Awhile and Don't Mind Some Walking This Is An Enjoying Change. No Charge and The Paths Are Well Kept. Many Birds, Turtles and Even A Few Gators and... Read Full Review

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