Located in the center of Punta Gorda Isles, the largest residential community in the City, this 19 acre park was purchased with funds from the Florida Community Trust (FCT) in the 1990’s. The property is bordered on the north and west by residential streets, Aqui Esta Drive and Bal Harbor Boulevard, respectively, to the east, by a residential canal and to the south by residential multifamily property. The site hosts preserved, managed and enhanced areas for a variety of educational programs and outdoor activities including, walking, bird watching, photography, environmental education and wildlife observation. Because of this vision for the use of the site, it was named "The Punta Gorda Nature Park".
The site establishes a unique recreation area which highlights the naturally occurring wetlands, uplands, vegetation and wildlife typical of pre-subdivided Punta Gorda. An urban interpretative nature walk still stands in stark contrast to the mass land subdivision fabric of the surrounding neighborhood. The site carries with it the unique characteristic of being a bicycle and pedestrian access oriented via its direct connection to the extensive Punta Gorda sidewalk system and the City’s Punta Gorda Pathways project. Many nature centers and wildlife preserves in Southwest Florida are only accessible by car or boat, this hidden jewel lies within close proximity to residential areas and commercial establishments.
1623 Aqui Esta Drive
Punta Gorda, FL 33950
21 acre park situated in the center of Punta Gorda Isles neighborhood
- Gardens - butterfly, flower, herb, & spice
- Palmetto forest and salt/high marsh habitats which include a multi-use recreational trail and observation deck
- Picnic Tables
Since 2011, The PGI Green Thumbs, volunteer Friday mornings to plant, weed and prune existing trees and newly planted gardens in the cleared upland section closest to Bal Harbor and Aqui Esta Drive. The volunteers created a series of gardens. Butterfly, edible and wetland gardens are dispersed throughout the area. Topiary forms are included in the various gardens and younger children will enjoy the “Find me in the Garden Game” engaging visitors to find native wildlife throughout the property.
Future plans include a variety of environmental classes for local schools with topics such as natural wetland systems, mangroves, water quality, and butterfly and herb gardens. People can now be seen biking and walking through the boardwalk area on a regular basis.
Other City Parks & Facilities
- Basketball Court
- Grilling Area
- Open Space
- Pickleball Court
- Picnic Tables
- Tennis Court
- Punta Gorda Pathways
Gilchrist Park provides approximately twelve (12) acres of Charlotte Harbor waterfront just west of US 41 hosting a variety of active recreation opportunities, including, basketball, pickleball, tennis, and a children’s playground area. Additionally, passive recreational activities include picnic pavilions, waterfront gazebo, and a fishing pier. As part of the Harborwalk Project, Gilchrist Park is undergoing renovations to include a new seawall, 20’ promenades along the harbor to complete the connection between the commercial anchors, Punta Gorda Waterfront Hotel and Fishermen's Village, on either side of the Park. The Harborwalk is a key factor in increasing the economic viability and sustainability through the connection of important pedestrian components to the downtown area. The connections include the small businesses, restaurants, shops and stores, which service the local residents as well as the tourist community. The completion of the Punta Gorda Pathways, a strategic series of multiuse paths encircling the City, will link key destination points, improve pedestrian and bicycle connectivity, and enhance economic viability of the core commercial areas.