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Posted October 24, 2017 | 11:31 AM

Autumn is in the Air Enjoy the Seasonal Cooldown

Hillsborough County residents can take advantage of moderate temperatures and fun fall holidays

Florida's extended summer finally is coming to an end. It's time to think about getting outside, and preparing for special autumn days such as Halloween, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving.

Here's a sampling of activities and events that will help you make the most of the season in Hillsborough County:

  • Learn about natural Florida and why it's important during a Native Plant Walk on trails and the boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Conservation Park. The trek gets underway at 9 a.m. on Oct. 21.
  • Pay tribute to fallen heroes at the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall at Veterans Memorial Park, 3602 U.S. 301 N. An opening ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. on Oct. 26, and the Traveling Wall remains at the park through Sunday, Oct. 29. It's free, and accessible from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
  • Get spooky at Howl-O-Ween at Northdale Recreation Center, 15550 Spring Pine Drive. The community event, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, features a maze, games, live entertainment, and pumpkin-carving and costume contests. There also is a Halloween celebration at Ruskin Recreation Center, 901 Sixth St. S.E., from 6 to 10 p.m., with trunk or treat, a costume contest for children age 12 and younger, and a family-friendly movie on a big screen. And the Mango Fall Festival, with carnival games, face-painting, food, and a costume contest, takes place at Mango Recreation Center, 11717 Clay Pit Road in Seffner, from 6 to 8 p.m., also on Oct. 27.
  • Celebrate pre-Halloween in unique fashion at a Night Swim on Oct. 27 at Lithia Springs Conservation Park. After gathering at 7 p.m. for a brief program about bats, participants may dip into the ghostly cool spring, partially lit by torches and underwater lights.
  • Greet the sunrise on an Early Bird Paddle at Edward Medard Conservation Park. It's a 2½-hour, guided tour of Edward Medard Reservoir in kayaks and canoes beginning at 7 a.m. on Oct. 29. Bring a camera and binoculars.
  • Enjoy a fall morning and abundant wildlife on the Beginning Bird Walk at Lettuce Lake Park at 9 a.m. on Nov. 11. The walks take place on the second Saturday of each month, and change with the seasons.
  • It's a great time of the year to ride a bicycle. Find your favorite Hillsborough County bike trail with our guide and interactive map.
  • Hillsborough County has year-round activities and events for seniors. Each Senior Center and Nutrition & Activity Center run by Aging Services has its own schedule, with fall activities such as a boat trip around Tampa Bay, holiday wreath making, and a Spooktacular Halloween Party.