Fireflies

Around 8 p.m., the fireflies began their mating call by using bioluminescence to attract a partner. These fireflies were spotted during last year’s tram tour.

SEBRING — Highlands Hammock State Park is now aglow with the flickering lights of fireflies. Heartland area residents and visitors are cordially invited to experience the magic of the Hammock after dark and see the Loop Road filled with clusters of tiny “twinkling stars.” Firefly tram tours began Tuesday evening, March 12 and continue for approximately two weeks, depending on the visible numbers and weather.

These fairy-like insects, which are species of beetles, emerge annually during the month of March. After their first appearance, they are generally seen for a window of two weeks as their numbers peak and wane. Nancy DuVall, Communications Chair of the Friends of Highlands Hammock, stated “March is the time of year when the sun goes down and the glow of these “ignited little wonders” steals the show at Highlands Hammock.”

DuVall continued, “We are especially pleased that this year’s Firefly Nights coincide with spring break for Highlands District Schools, and we very much hope that families will attend.”

Reservations are required and tickets may be purchased by going online at eventbrite.com. Tickets are $10 per person for adults and $ 5 for children aged 6 to 12. Eventbrite charges a nominal fee for online booking. This event is not suitable for children under 6 years. Twenty tram seats are being held for non-reservation “walk-ins” on tour nights and will be sold on a “first come-first serve” basis at the Friends table beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets are non-refundable. In the event of inclement weather, rain checks will be honored at a later date. Visitors may plan to arrive in the picnic area at 7 p.m. Trams board and depart between 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Trams will proceed to the orange grove where bats and owls may be sighted and continue in the gathering darkness, moving slowly around the Loop, pausing in areas where the insects are abundant.

Interpretive guides provide narration and reveal fascinating facts about fireflies and other nocturnal wildlife. Tours take approximately 45 minutes. Visitors are advised to bring insect repellent.

This special event is sponsored by the Friends of Highlands Hammock State Park. Proceeds benefit park improvements. Regular park admission of $6 per vehicle (up to 8 people per car) is waived after 7 p.m. on tour nights. For more information, visit the Friends of Highlands Hammock on Facebook. Highlands Hammock is located at 5931 Hammock Road in Sebring.

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