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|DADE BATTLEFIELD STATE PARK
"Have a good heart; our difficulties and dangers are over now, and as soon as we arrive at Fort King you'll have three days to rest and keep Christmas gaily." Major Francis L. Dade spoke these words of encouragement to 108 cold, tired soldiers in a pine forest on the morning of December 28, 1835. Within eight hours, only three soldiers would survive the battle that marked the beginning of the Second Seminole War.
The story of this momentous battle in Florida history is told in the visitor center at Dade Battlefield State Historic Site. An annual reenactment of the historic battle is co-sponsored by the Dade Battlefield Society, a citizen support organization. The reenactment is held on the weekend falling closest to the actual battle date. The weekend event includes many displays of historic memorabilia of the battle era. Festivities begin at 9am and continue until sunset both days.
The park contains a pine flatwoods and a live oak hammock. Gopher tortoise, woodpeckers and songbirds are residents of the pine flatwoods. Sabal palm and magnolias and live oaks can be found in the hammock. A nature trail meanders through the longleaf pine flatwoods that is similar to the forest where the battle was fought. Trail labels mark the military road and battlefield. Ranger guided tours can be arranged with two months advance notice.
The park has a visitor center, six picnic shelters, recreation hall equipped with full kitchen facilities, restrooms and a shuffleboard court. The picnic shelters and the recreation hall are available for rental and can be reserved by contacting the park office.
The park consists of the historic battlefield, beautiful visitors center and museum located on 50 acres of pinelands which contains graceful large live oak trees, magnolias, gopher tortoises, woodpeckers, songbirds and many other species of wildlife.
Dade Battlefield State Park is located off I-75 at exit 63, travel east on SR 48 to Battlefield Drive. From Highway 301, travel west on CR 476 to Battlefield Drive. The site is open from 8am til sundown daily. The visitor center is open from 9am til 5 pm daily. Admission fee to the site is $2.00 per vehicle or $1.00 per pedestrian or bicyclist. There is no additional fee for the visitor center.
Dade Battlefield State Park is located off I-75 and S.R. 48, west of Highway 301.
For information on, or date for the next reenactment, contact the site at:
Dade Battlefield State Park
7200 CR 603
South Battlefield Drive
Bushnell, FL 33513
e-mail the park at firstname.lastname@example.org
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