Crowley Museum & Nature Center

Crowley Museum & Nature Center A unique experience of natural and pioneer Florida. Education programs for kids and adults, camping, birding, weddings and other gatherings. Crowley Museum and Nature Center is a 501(c)3 community organization founded by Jasper Crowley (1900-1976) and Edina Truchot (1899-1976) in 1974.
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Operating as usual

Paul & Yolanda Lengyel are volunteering today! They brought tons of goodies! We are so lucky to have such dedicated and ...
04/24/2021

Paul & Yolanda Lengyel are volunteering today! They brought tons of goodies! We are so lucky to have such dedicated and thoughtful volunteers!

¿Hablas español? ¿Le gustaría aprender sobre Crowley Museum and Nature Center visitando al Sr. Paul y la Sra. Yolanda Lengyel hoy? Traiga a los niños a un divertido viaje de la historia natural y cultural de Florida. ¡Nos encantaría verte!

Have we ever told you how awesome our volunteers are? Well, they are the absolute best. The life blood of CMNC. We are s...
04/23/2021

Have we ever told you how awesome our volunteers are? Well, they are the absolute best. The life blood of CMNC. We are so deeply grateful for their dedication and donation of talent and hard work. Every week something improves because of them. So let me tell you, our volunteers are hands down, the best. All of them.

This is a Pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius) Not to be feared or killed, but respected. This individual was indepen...
04/22/2021

This is a Pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius) Not to be feared or killed, but respected. This individual was independently important of his venom or potential threat to others. On this Eatth Day, respect the other non-human life that we share this miraculous planet with. Please do not handle wildlife, if it needs to be rescued, relocated or transported contact a licensed rehabilitation specialist or Florida Fish & Wildlife.

This is a Pygmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius) Not to be feared or killed, but respected. This individual was independently important of his venom or potential threat to others. On this Eatth Day, respect the other non-human life that we share this miraculous planet with. Please do not handle wildlife, if it needs to be rescued, relocated or transported contact a licensed rehabilitation specialist or Florida Fish & Wildlife.

Lilith’s babies are still tiny but are as interested and smart as she was! Hopefully soon some members with a good macro...
04/22/2021

Lilith’s babies are still tiny but are as interested and smart as she was! Hopefully soon some members with a good macro lens will be able to show you what they really look like. This is the best that I could do with my iPhone as I cleaned and fed today. The hole you see in the cups was made by pushing a thumb tack through, to give you a size reference other than my finger. There are 66 of these curious little spiderlings, give or take.

These thoughtful and sweet thank you cards make it all worth it! We keep all of these treasures. To book your Florida Pi...
04/20/2021

These thoughtful and sweet thank you cards make it all worth it! We keep all of these treasures. To book your Florida Pioneer Life field trip email [email protected].

These thoughtful and sweet thank you cards make it all worth it! We keep all of these treasures. To book your Florida Pioneer Life field trip email [email protected].

Tonight was our annual board meeting and regular monthly meeting. So much exciting news is coming soon, but for tonight ...
04/20/2021

Tonight was our annual board meeting and regular monthly meeting. So much exciting news is coming soon, but for tonight we’d like to welcome two new directors, Ms Jenny Townsend & Mr Timothy Self. Also congratulations to Susan Flynn Esq for being unanimously voted in as the new Board Chair as Mr William “Dean” Crowley finishes his 3 year term as chair. Mr Crowley, we are so appreciative of your hard work and dedication to CMNC. You were a fantastic and active Chairman and we are so glad that you’ve decided to stay on as a director. Here’s to a fantastic year everyone!

Tonight was our annual board meeting and regular monthly meeting. So much exciting news is coming soon, but for tonight we’d like to welcome two new directors, Ms Jenny Townsend & Mr Timothy Self. Also congratulations to Susan Flynn Esq for being unanimously voted in as the new Board Chair as Mr William “Dean” Crowley finishes his 3 year term as chair. Mr Crowley, we are so appreciative of your hard work and dedication to CMNC. You were a fantastic and active Chairman and we are so glad that you’ve decided to stay on as a director. Here’s to a fantastic year everyone!

66, give or take, of Lilith’s spiderlings. Each 4oz graduation apartment has between 1-4 spiderlings, moist q-tip end, l...
04/16/2021

66, give or take, of Lilith’s spiderlings. Each 4oz graduation apartment has between 1-4 spiderlings, moist q-tip end, little tree and prey (flightless fruitflies) Eventually they’ll all be separated, released, adopted out or captive bred.

66, give or take, of Lilith’s spiderlings. Each 4oz graduation apartment has between 1-4 spiderlings, moist q-tip end, little tree and prey (flightless fruitflies) Eventually they’ll all be separated, released, adopted out or captive bred.

04/15/2021
Jasper’s Clock

In today’s installment of Throwback Thursday I would love to present this beautiful donation. This antique clock used to belong to our founder, Jasper Crowley. It was thought to be in non working order. After working with it some, it appears as though we may be able to get it running again. It will sit in the Welcome Center and greet our guests!

04/15/2021

We are in need of paint! Any color exterior paint that you may have and don’t need. Several exciting projects are starting! Please only bring paint that is still good, not dried or moldy. Thank you!

Yesterday CMNC was included in a very important event! Chris asked Heather to marry him in the memorial community giving...
04/14/2021

Yesterday CMNC was included in a very important event! Chris asked Heather to marry him in the memorial community giving garden named for her best friend Dustin Horne! Congratulations Chris & Heather!

In today’s installment of Mystery Monday, what on EARTH is Mrs Cathy doing to Mr Eric?! 👀. We promise, it’s part of what...
04/12/2021

In today’s installment of Mystery Monday, what on EARTH is Mrs Cathy doing to Mr Eric?! 👀. We promise, it’s part of what we do at CMNC and a fun big plan set for later this year!

In today’s installment of Mystery Monday, what on EARTH is Mrs Cathy doing to Mr Eric?! 👀. We promise, it’s part of what we do at CMNC and a fun big plan set for later this year!

It was a beautiful day for these homeschoolers  to experience the Florida Pioneer Life field trip! They were the first s...
04/12/2021

It was a beautiful day for these homeschoolers to experience the Florida Pioneer Life field trip! They were the first students we’ve had in a long time due to Covid 19. As such, they were the first to visit with our newly adopted Watusi cattle and to see the Florida Native Village Replica! To book a program for your youth or school group, minimum 20 students, please email [email protected].

Lilith’s spiderlings are moving up to their graduation apartments on this fine stormy day!
04/11/2021

Lilith’s spiderlings are moving up to their graduation apartments on this fine stormy day!

The dewberries are ripening! Have you ever tasted a dewberry? Come out to CMNC and see if you can find some! Please reme...
04/10/2021

The dewberries are ripening! Have you ever tasted a dewberry? Come out to CMNC and see if you can find some! Please remember do not eat anything in nature unless you are sure you have identified it properly!

Amazing artist Nikki Stevens read Lilith’s story was and was inspired to do this charcoal drawing of her for Dixie Resni...
04/09/2021

Amazing artist Nikki Stevens read Lilith’s story was and was inspired to do this charcoal drawing of her for Dixie Resnick. It’s absolutely beautiful and such a kind gesture. She’ll also adopt a few of her spiderlings! Lilith is an ambassador for her kind and stopping senseless killing due to ignorance and fear. Lilith was a Phiddipus regius, regal jumping spider. To see more of Nikki’s work please visit and “like” her page!

https://www.facebook.com/IdaliasArts/

Amazing artist Nikki Stevens read Lilith’s story was and was inspired to do this charcoal drawing of her for Dixie Resnick. It’s absolutely beautiful and such a kind gesture. She’ll also adopt a few of her spiderlings! Lilith is an ambassador for her kind and stopping senseless killing due to ignorance and fear. Lilith was a Phiddipus regius, regal jumping spider. To see more of Nikki’s work please visit and “like” her page!

https://www.facebook.com/IdaliasArts/

The Crowley Critter Crew gave the old shed a new location and a makeover! Now it’s useful and no longer an eyesore! We a...
04/08/2021

The Crowley Critter Crew gave the old shed a new location and a makeover! Now it’s useful and no longer an eyesore! We are so grateful! If you’d like to join them for these and other projects please message us!

The Crowley Critter Crew gave the old shed a new location and a makeover! Now it’s useful and no longer an eyesore! We are so grateful! If you’d like to join them for these and other projects please message us!

Calling all budding grant writers and tree lovers! CMNC would LOVE to buy and plant some native bald cypress and magnoli...
04/08/2021
The Lorax Project / “I Speak for the Trees” Grant Program

Calling all budding grant writers and tree lovers! CMNC would LOVE to buy and plant some native bald cypress and magnolia trees! Can you help us? Kids can enter too! We will showcase the winners here and they will receive a free family membership!

The Lorax Project

In today’s installment of Wildlife Wednesday I’d like to share an amazing photo that a Fanta photographer allowed me to ...
04/07/2021

In today’s installment of Wildlife Wednesday I’d like to share an amazing photo that a Fanta photographer allowed me to share (watermark on photo) of a spiderling the exact same age and species of Lilith’s babies. This is what these boogieing pepper specks look like under significant magnification. 2nd instar P. Regius spiderling.

Today I started ventilating 4oz deli cups as graduation apartments for the spiderlings after their next molt. Check out ...
04/07/2021

Today I started ventilating 4oz deli cups as graduation apartments for the spiderlings after their next molt. Check out this wee hunter with his catch!

I have been SO EXCITED to share today’s installment of Mystery Monday. Abnormally so. I happen to find today’s specimen ...
04/05/2021

I have been SO EXCITED to share today’s installment of Mystery Monday. Abnormally so. I happen to find today’s specimen cute, fascinating, bizarre and beautiful. This is not something most people see, so I thought I’d share. For it’s safety I had to remove it from where it was so I took the opportunity to photograph it in my palm. Can you tell me what this is? The only hint I’ll give is that they are prevalent here at CMNC at this time of the year. Good luck!

I have been SO EXCITED to share today’s installment of Mystery Monday. Abnormally so. I happen to find today’s specimen cute, fascinating, bizarre and beautiful. This is not something most people see, so I thought I’d share. For it’s safety I had to remove it from where it was so I took the opportunity to photograph it in my palm. Can you tell me what this is? The only hint I’ll give is that they are prevalent here at CMNC at this time of the year. Good luck!

CMNC volunteers are the best Easter Eggs to be found! See all of the good they’ve been up to? If you’d like to join the ...
04/04/2021

CMNC volunteers are the best Easter Eggs to be found! See all of the good they’ve been up to? If you’d like to join the Crowley Critter Crew please send us a message. There are jobs for all ability levels. We ❤️ our hardworking volunteers!

04/04/2021

Happy Easter to those who celebrate! With 191 acres Crowley Museum & Nature Center is the best place for an egg hunt! Come see us, we are open! Mrs Cathy Rosebrock said CMNC is the perfect place to be today!

Immersive and hands on learning with Mr Eric for today’s Wilderness Survival class! This class is offered on Saturday mo...
04/03/2021

Immersive and hands on learning with Mr Eric for today’s Wilderness Survival class! This class is offered on Saturday mornings to groups with a minimum for f 10 participating children. To book one for your group email [email protected]

Some of Lilith’s spiderlings are having their first “drink” a very fine mist of RO water. A single drop is more than eno...
04/02/2021

Some of Lilith’s spiderlings are having their first “drink” a very fine mist of RO water. A single drop is more than enough to drown them and they easily get caught in water’s surface tension, so caution is necessary. They’ll go to a drop and drink it from the surface. The meme circulating with a jumping spider “wearing” a drop of water as a hat is staged and dangerous for the spider.

Some of Lilith’s spiderlings are having their first “drink” a very fine mist of RO water. A single drop is more than enough to drown them and they easily get caught in water’s surface tension, so caution is necessary. They’ll go to a drop and drink it from the surface. The meme circulating with a jumping spider “wearing” a drop of water as a hat is staged and dangerous for the spider.

After your overwhelmingly positive reaction to Lilith the regal jumping spider’s story, I thought I’d share an update on...
04/01/2021
Regal Jumping Spiderlings

After your overwhelmingly positive reaction to Lilith the regal jumping spider’s story, I thought I’d share an update on her growing family. Please allow us to introduce her 200+ beautiful, healthy spiderlings.

Lilith the regal jumping spider’s spiderlings on their second day of emergence. Phidd opus regius

A pair of large shiny eyes peered at me inquisitively from under the splintered wood. Several smaller eyes surrounding. ...
04/01/2021

A pair of large shiny eyes peered at me inquisitively from under the splintered wood. Several smaller eyes surrounding. The tiny fuzzy head tilted in my direction and the sun shown brightly on iridescent purple/green chelicerae (mouth parts). Excitedly I muttered, “hello! I’ve been looking for you for so long! You’re so beautiful! Hello!” This, as I fumbled for a cypress box with little air holes made by our own Mr. Eric for discoveries such as this. Gently, I approached her with my hand and was met with a fuzzy-footed tap dance and a slender furry front leg that cautiously reached out to touch the approaching finger. I had to remove her from this location because the old sign she was under was faded and rotting. People had been kicking and breaking it up into pieces. It wasn’t safe for them, or her. She was the biggest regal jumping spider (Phidippus regius) that I’d ever heard of. She seemed genuinely curious, intelligent, and was absolutely the most adorable and beautiful spider that I’ve ever seen. As a biologist I know better than to anthropomorphize an arachnid. That is, to attribute human behaviors and characteristics to something not human, but, she was clearly something special. I was completely enamored of her and endeavored to learn all that I could. I hoped to utilize this unique opportunity to work with her as an ambassador for awareness and perhaps repopulate areas that seem to have lost their population of these interesting creatures. My excitement was not shared by all as I’d extend my handful of big hairy spider. But as my palm revealed it’s treasure with her happy face abdominal markings and large reflective eyes, people couldn’t help but look closer. After processing the tiny creature staring back, sometimes coming closer to them for a better look or even seeming to point with her front left leg, they’d declare that she was indeed, cute. They’d also tell me that she was the largest that they’d ever seen. I was inclined to agree. This was, in part, due to the fact that she was very gravid (full of eggs), a delightful bonus. With the research I’d compiled from months before, I set up a habitat for her with controlled lighting, humidity, different substrates, climbers, hiders and anything a spider could want. After a few days with me she took a night to spin a most impressive hammock. Inside of it she put an egg-sack the size of a small blueberry. Before this, she had been eating mealworms daily, the hungry mother-to-be that she was...but now, inside her little shelter she sat, patiently waiting for her babies. I’d check her frequently to be met with those mirrored globes in that furry face and sometimes a raised front left leg. This endearing wave like gesture was more than likely part of sizing me up as a threat or a snack, but I still enjoyed it and answered with “hello” and the name I’d given her for my records. Lilith. After a week she emerged from her hideaway for food and drink, drops of RO water that I put on the wall of her habitat since dishes of water could drown her. During a feeding she reached toward me, then hopped onto my hand. Turning her head toward the sound of my delighted exclamation, I was given a better view of all of her eyes. All deep glittering pools of darkness and what I wanted to believe was an intelligence similar to ours. While it is not like ours, it is an intelligence and awareness that are important independently from that of others; the quality and quantity of which should not be measured by any other species. Variety in all existences is important to each individual and to us all. This interaction became a routine for us that I looked forward to and it delighted me each time. I showed her to my children who connected to her emotionally and it is my hope that they carry this and share it with others, always. I photographed her in these situations to show others this special experience in hopes of raising awareness and combatting fatal and irrational fear. My new guest was settled and perhaps raising a new generation. Though I was aware that hatching could take a month or more, as the time passed I became increasingly worried about the eggs. Was the temperature ok? The humidity? Lilith went in and out of her hammock and sat with them. She’d come out to hunt, drink or explore. She’d jump onto my hand and inspect it, seeming to linger longer near a new barbwire scratch, ring, or speck of dirt. One morning I found something that was all at once upsetting and a reminder of how fragile and adaptive she was. A tiny furry leg lay discarded at the bottom of the enclosure near her live moss area; a stark black contrast to the spring green it lay on. I retrieved it and saved it, though I’m unsure why. She watched, pointing with the left foreleg as always. The lost leg was on the right side. As the weeks passed, this upsetting event happened twice more, same side. I found myself continuing to feed Lilith with a pair of tweezers and holding the prey until she was able to grab it. Pre-killed, both for the humane treatment of the prey and for the safety of Lilith. She would readily take the snacks and eat them. Having only five furry little legs, she was beginning to have some mobility issues that I answered with a smaller and easier to navigate enclosure. Since she had not been going into her hammock, I took the lid and put it into a large mesh container to contain the babies once they emerged. I could see tiny shadows stirring deep within and eagerly awaited meeting them. Lilith moved cautiously but efficiently about her new enclosure that was full of twisted sticks and other things that are easy to cling to. But as days passed, she slowed. While I recognize that she was a fully mature adult, I wanted to believe that I had found her in the early part of her adult life. It was beginning to look much more like I had found her at the end of her life. I prepared myself though reluctantly. This morning was foggy and beautiful. Archer, my three year old, and I got up like we always do and after I started a pot of coffee I went to check on Lilith and her egg sac. Much to my delight and amazement, the babies were beginning to emerge. However, the very fine mesh was not fine enough and the entire enclosure was covered with little black specs that were climbing around and hopping as if they were born with all of the knowledge of a jumping spider - which they were. I exclaimed my excitement to meet them just like I did the day that I met their mother. Of course they are so tiny that I could not see any turning of the heads or shiny eyes. Even with my newly acquired reading glasses they still looked like specs of black pepper with tiny legs. The only difference between these hundreds of tiny creatures was maybe a slight variance in size. While they are sexually dimorphic when they are older, at this instar they all look the same. I had to come up with a better plan since the mesh enclosure used for even the tiniest caterpillars was not sufficient to keep these tiny explorers in. Luckily they are arboreal and like to go up high so they had not spread all over the table. They had instead congregated near the top of the enclosure. This made it easier since I could see them against the white background better than I could the wood grain of the table. Realizing that this adaptive trait bought me a little bit of time and that they would likely stay near the top of the mesh, I decided to check on Lilith. That is when all of the elation that I had fell into the pit of my stomach. She was lethargic and looked deflated. She was still alive and still acknowledged me, but barely; no hopping onto my hand, no moving from her place. I actually lifted her from the perch and laid her limply in the palm of my hand. I looked lovingly at the ridiculously adorable little hairs that stood straight up off the top of her head, above those beautifully reflective dark eyes; the middle two dominant and large like that of a pet or a person. Her five remaining legs and slightly deflated fuzzy body laid gently in my hand, that normally full smiley face on her butt much less full, the cross on her head smaller. I understood then that as the sun rose on a few hundred spiderlings, the sun was setting on my Lilith. So I sat there until she didn’t move anymore. I offered her a sugar water Q-tip in the event that maybe she was dehydrated, but it did not work. And slowly, the movement became less and she grew still. The tiny head leaned very slightly forward and the reflective eyes dulled. Spiders are not in any form luminescent creatures but I could almost swear inside of this one a light went out. The normal procedures that I would do to other species to ensure that their life had indeed ended could not be applied here. I could not see a spider breath. I could not induce a spider blink. I could not hear the beat of her heart. To assure that all last moments were comfortable, I created an artificial hammock similar to the one that she made, but from a Kleenex. I placed her inside and facing the opening. This precious bundle was placed near the globe into which I was transporting her babies, one by one, on the tips of clean makeup brushes. If those intelligent eyes still saw, they’d see her babies, nothing more, nothing scary or unsettling. I couldn’t think of something better. Painstakingly and slowly, I moved each of the tiny spiderlings into their new home. They were vigorous and jumping and running, a sharp contrast to their failing mother whose legs curled tightly around herself. There was a strange peacefulness in the room and I felt a sense of the ancient story of life as one precious existence went away and so many more began. Devoting my thinking to the future of these tiny individuals, I decided that much more should come from my interaction that day with Lilith. Her tiny offspring, already emulating their mother’s movements on a much diminished scale, could repopulate areas where we no longer see regal jumping spiders for several reasons. I could document their growth and their endearing behaviors. They could be shared with the public to foster interest and help dispel some of the myths and fears that end up with spider lives being lost. It is my hope that I encounter another gravid female from a completely different area. I can raise her offspring and then pair everyone off in different beautiful places, releasing them on Crowley and in other locations where the land is protected. Those who knew Lilith and who read this, my children and my friends, they have taken their knowledge of her and gone out into the world to spread awareness and to educate. In this way I feel a little better about taking a small, fuzzy, fencepost spider out of the wild and into my home. It is my hope that Lilith’s story means something to you. Your reads and shares are just as helpful to our mission here at Crowley Museum & Nature Center as any donation would be. Without any further ado, I would like to present to you Lilith, the regal jumping spider, and her very large family. Thank you for caring, Dixie Resnick.

Address

16405 Myakka Rd
Sarasota, FL
34240-9192

General information

Adult Admission $6 Children 2-12 from $3 Membership levels $25 Student $40 Individual $45 Senior couple $50 Family $100- Patron

Opening Hours

Thursday 10:00 - 17:00
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(941) 322-1000

Products

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Our Story

Board Chair- William Dean Crowley Chair Elect - Susan Flynn Esq Treasurer- John Bauer Secretary- Ruby Jo Brew

President/CEO - Dixie Resnick

Directors- Christine Johnson, Gabriele Harris, Mireya Dente, Billy Rice, Alicia Phidd Esq. Crowley Natural and Cultural History Center also known as "Crowley" is a non profit organization furthering natural and cultural history located on 190 acres of pristine Florida including pine flatwoods, oak hammock, hardwood swamp, sawgrass marsh, and the Myakka River. Take a 15 minute scenic drive east of I75 to enjoy guided or self-guided tours of untouched Florida landscapes. Kids love the Children's Discovery path with 5 interactive stations on native Florida creatures. Farm animals, organic garden, and more...

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Comments

Thank you for a lovely day today exploring the beautiful woods. I couldn't think of a better way to have spent Earth Day! I will be back! Thanks to your pleasant greeter, Judy! 💕🌿🌴🌱🍃🍄💐🌺🌸🌼🌻🌞
Happy Gopher Tortoise Day!
Can you please tell me what this is?
I haven't had a chance to visit the Crowley homestead, but I am fascinated by how the old pioneer families of Florida inter-married. My grandfather, Abel Augustus Rousseau, was born in Clearwater in 1878, and one of his older sisters, Annie, married Charles Gustavus Lawrence Crowley. "Uncle Charlie" as he was known to us, died in 1950, and is buried in the Rousseau Cemetery in Clearwater. Also, my g-g-g-grandfather was a man named Micajah Dean, who had a plantation in Columbia County, Florida in the 1830's. Micajah's daughter, Rhoda Hinson Dean, married my g-g-grandfather, William Henry Rousseau, and one of their sons, Thaddeus Dean Rousseau, retained the Dean name in the family. I also see it appear in the name of William Dean Crowley, Board Chair of the Crowley Museum. I don't know for certain that we are all related, but genealogy documents often prove that we are. Even so, Florida's pioneer families left us with a wonderful heritage.
Be there this weekend
from the page Now that's Wild "Don't be a fawnnapper! It's very common for moms to leave babies for the day while they forage. It's their hope that if they leave it near humans that it will help keep predators away. Doe will often hide fawns near your home or even right outside your home. This does not mean the baby is orphaned. Please contact a licensed Rehabilitator before moving a fawn. Unless they are crying, running around looking for the mom or showing signs of dehydration or hunger, they should be left alone"
would love to know when the next stargazing event will be scheduled
For those of you in the area, Starry Night is always a fun event. Mattisons will feed us, the Billy Rice Band is AWESOME and they will be playing and the big telescopes will be out. Hope to see everyone there!!!