Why should I attend?
This isn’t an easy one to answer, since there are so many great reasons to come to the Festival! Each year, Tree Hill welcomes local vendors who are selling lots of goodies, ranging from local honey and goat milk soap to jewelry and fairy wands! Local groups come out to spread the word on their work, ranging from solar energy and backyard chicken keeping to outdoor adventurers. Every year, at the end of the day, there is a release of 500 live monarch butterflies. This is an incredible sight to see, especially since the gardens are in full bloom at that point. From the touch tank in the natural history museum to trail walks in the woods (both paved and unpaved), and a live animal encounter to arts and crafts, Tree Hill is yours to explore! These are some of the favorite things to do, but come this year to find your favorite part of the Festival.
Why should I support Tree Hill Nature Center?
Tree Hill Nature Center is a 50-acre nature preserve, making it an incredibly unique and one-of-a-kind gem in the heart of Jacksonville’s urban landscape. A long-standing partnership with the Duval County Public Schools allows Tree Hill to work with almost every 3rd grade student each year. Students are given a guided trail walk through the woods, and a live animal presentation. The program complements the work students are doing in the classroom, giving them a chance to experience the natural world and gain hands-on experience with native species. Tree Hill also works closely with JEA to bring an energy conservation program and a water conservation program to schools and after-school programs. The generosity of JEA allows Tree Hill to offer these programs free of charge! Tree Hill is home of the Arlington Community Garden, which has been in existence since 2010. This community garden remains the only one in Jacksonville dedicated exclusively to serving a food pantry. All of the food grown in the garden supports Arlington residents served by Arlington Community Services.
The Joseph A. Strasser Butterfly Festival is the only fundraising event held by Tree Hill. The support that comes from the Festival is vital to continuing the education programs, maintaining the 50-acre preserve, and caring for the animals and gardens. With a focus on native plants and native species, your support at the Festival helps to protect an important ecosystem in north Florida.
What else do I need to know?
There is a cost of admission to attend: $5 for adults, $4 for students/military/seniors, and $3 for children ages 3-17. The Festival is always free for members and children under 3. Parking is at the St. Andrews Episcopal Church and the Parkwood Baptist Church. There is no parking at Tree Hill due to safety concerns. You are encouraged to walk to the Festival entrance, but a shuttle is provided for those requiring extra assistance. You can pay with cash or a credit card at the gate, but once inside the Festival you will need tickets to purchase food, items at the Tree Hill Gift Shop, and face painting. There are two ticket booths set up for your convenience.