In this news brief: Manatee County police are investigating a shooting that killed a man and woman; A man driving a scooter is killed in a crash; A cold snap kills 35 manatees in Florida last month; Julian B Lane Riverfront park will open on May thirteenth; Two St. Petersburg officers are moving up the ranks.
The University of South Florida Riverfront Park offers a unique experience to its students and alumni by providing outdoor recreational activities from canoeing to even a ropes course.
With the advantage Florida brings to its residents, USF is able to offer its students and alumni a place to de-stress and relax after a hard day at work or from studying. The park has a wide range of activities available. The ropes course is a common favorite among it students and is an activity many people have never done before.
“I take them up on the ropes course which is about 55 feet high and they go through obstacles and stuff and they eventually zip line down,” ropes course facilitator Hunter Mitchell said.
The park is also on the banks of the Hillsborough River, allowing the park to offer canoeing and kayaking to its visitors. Many times, canoeing and kayaking is very expensive to go out and experience. At Riverfront Park students can rent canoes and kayaks from $5 to $10 and a full usage pass for $45.
“At USF Riverfront Boat House, we provide students the opportunity to rent out kayaks, single-person kayaks, two-person kayaks and canoes,” boat house facilitator Esteban Baute said.
The park also offers team-building activities that help USF students build leadership skills and make new friends.
“It gets people talking in case they don’t know each other and we just really establish trust and communication and really get groups closer together after they come out here,” Mitchell said.
With over 49,000 students at USF, making friends can be tough. USF Riverfront Park allows students to make new friends easier and bring different people together by offering these activities.
Bonnie Buchanan, a student employee at USF Riverfront Park, and Olivia Parrillo, a Riverfront Park visitor and fellow USF student, both love the outdoors.
The students frequently visit Riverfront Park either to work, relax or enjoy the outdoors when they have time off school.
“It’s good for people to come out here and get in touch with nature and not be staring at their phones the whole time,” Buchanan said. “It’s just a really good way for students to enjoy what Florida’s wildlife has to offer.”
Riverfront Park is located in Tampa, close to a mile from USF’s Tampa campus. The park offers canoeing and kayaking rentals, as well as many other outdoor activities.
“I definitely would recommend it, it’s worth every penny, especially when you are on a college budget,” Parrillo said. “It’s worth the $10 for either two people or three people in a canoe or kayak.”
Riverfront Park is also home to a vast array of Florida wildlife.
“A big variety of wildlife, we definitely see a lot of alligators in the river and on the bank,” Buchanan said. “Definitely a lot of bird watching, different kinds of egrets.”
Buchanan has been a Riverfront Park employee for six months and graduates in the spring of 2017.
“My favorite thing about working at Riverfront Park is teaching the ropes course and seeing people face their fear of heights,” Buchanan said. “It sure beats sitting behind a desk all day.”