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Join Us!

April 24-28 2019

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With Us!

Check out our

Birding & Photo Fest online interactive guide!

The online guide is easy to use and environmentally friendly. Simply click on the guide and start planning your schedule for North Florida’s premier birding and photo fest.






Ready to build your adventure for this year’s

Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest?


Welcome to one of the most celebrated and beautiful festivals in the nation ...

Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest

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Join Us Next Year! April 24-28, 2019

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We’re busy putting together our 2019 Festival schedule.

Registration for the 2019 will be available in early December.

The GTM Research Reserve

The GTM Research Reserve Environmental Education Center is home to Florida's Birding & Photo Fest!  The Educational Center provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the rapidly growing population of Northeast Florida to receive hands-on environmental education and natural resource interpretation.  Inside of the 21,000 square foot Environmental Education Center is an exhibit hall, aquariums, nature store, research laboratory, classrooms, meeting rooms and offices.  Feel free to browse the natural history exhibits and hands-on displays and study live animals.  Don’t miss the many retailers who will be exhibiting in the auditorium throughout the Festival!  

    There will be a registration desk located at the Environmental Education Center for participants to register for all available events; however, online registration is encouraged to ensure participation!

What are the dates of the 17th Annual Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest?   April 24-28, 2019


Where is the Festival located?

Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest is headquartered at the GTM Research Reserve located at 505 Guana River Rd., Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082. The registration desk, photography seminars, some field workshops and kayaking trips (but not all), an exhibitor area with gear related products* and food trucks can be found there

April 18-22, 2018. *The exhibitor area is closed on Sunday, the 22nd.


Is there an exhibitor area?

Located at the GTM Reserve, the exhibitor area is the perfect place to spend time in between classes.  Some of our exhibitors this year include Hunt’s Photo & Video, Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Olympus, FujiFilm, Used Photo Pro, It's Hats, Peachtree Camera Repair, Wildside Photo Tours, MAC Group, and more.

     Please note that Sigma, Tamron, FujiFilm, and Canon all offer loaner lens programs so that you can “try before you buy”.

     Please be mindful of the exhibitor hours.  The exhibitor area will only be open during these hours – you are not permitted to enter the exhibit hall when it is not open.


Wednesday, April 18   9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Thursday, April 19       9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Friday, April 20            9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Saturday, April 21        9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Sunday, April 22          CLOSED


How do I register for the Festival?

The festival requires a one-time $25 registration fee. If you do not add this to your cart when you order event tickets, you will be required to submit paid registration when you check in on-site.  


Purchase Tickets in 3 easy steps!

1. Review the class/workshop selection being sure to allow enough time for travel and not to overlap events. Then SELECT REGISTER HERE BUY TICKETS on the website,

2. Add your One-Time Festival registration to your cart.

3. Add your preferred event tickets to your cart, and select CHECK OUT.


Do I need to print my tickets?

Please note that you are not required to print your event tickets.  Your name will be on an attendee list and you will check in with a Festival representative at each event.


If I purchased a ticket and cannot attend can I send someone in my place?

If you purchased a ticket for an event and cannot attend you may transfer it to someone else.


When is the registration desk open?

The registration desk is open daily Wednesday-Sunday, April18-22.


Wednesday, April 18   8:30 am - 3 pm

Thursday, April 19       8:30 am - 5 pm

Friday, April 20            8:30 am - 5 pm

Saturday, April 21        8:30 am - 5 pm

Sunday, April 22          8:30 am - 3 pm


What is your cancellation policy?

Florida's Birding & Photo Fest reserves the right to cancel an activity of the festival or substitute qualified presenters when necessary.  If we cancel an event for any reason, a full refund will be issued.  Should that unlikely occurrence become necessary you will be notified in as timely a manner as possible.


Registrations may be cancelled via email or mail following this established Refund Policy:

• Cancellations made by March 9, 2018 will be

  refunded in full minus the registration fee.

• Cancellations made from March 10 to April 1, 2018

  will be refunded at 50% of the total registration

  minus the $25 registration fee.

• Cancellations made after April 1, 2018 will not be

 refunded. “No shows” will not be eligible for a refund.


What should I bring with me on field workshops?

• Camera Gear – suggested gear lists are with each

  field workshop description.

• Rain gear

• Water – Florida can be hot, especially if you aren’t

  used to humidity.  Be sure to drink plenty of water.

• Bug Spray

• Hat

• Light jacket for evening weather


Are there suggested gear lists for the field workshops?

Suggested gear lists are included with each field workshop description.


Do I need a Photo Pass to attend a field workshop at the Alligator Farm?

Yes. The Alligator Farm requires guests that want to enter early or stay after hours to have a Photo Pass.  This pass will allow you to enter the Alligator Farm one hour before the general public (at 8:00 a.m.) and stay after the park closes (park closes at 6:00 p.m. and photo pass holders usually stay until sunset). Photo passes can be used any day of the week from March - July.  You must present the pass and your Photo ID when you enter the Alligator Farm.


How do I purchase a Photo Pass for the Alligator Farm?

Photo passes can be purchased through the Alligator Farm for $109.95 + tax or through the Festival for $116.99 – this includes the EventBrite ticket convenience fee.

I’ve purchased the Alligator Farm pass – where do I pick it up?

If you purchase the pass through the Alligator Farm they will mail the pass to you if time allows OR they can have the pass waiting for you when you arrive (they have a list of pass holders.)


If you purchase your pass through the Festival (when you are purchasing your other tickets) the pass will be waiting for you when you check in AT THE ALLIGATOR FARM for your first field workshop unless you contact us and make other arrangements.  


What happens if I arrive late at the Alligator Farm?

There is only ONE game keeper at the Alligator Farm on duty to let you in for the A.M. workshops. If you are late, even 2 minutes late, you will not get in and you will not get a refund.  So come early, have your gear ready, be ready to walk in on time, and be ready to learn! Suggested gear lists are listed in every field workshop description.


What is the Festival’s policy on late arrivals?

The Festival’s policy is to wait 5 minutes for late arrivals – at that point, the trip will move on and any late arrivals will have to catch up on their own.  Please be courteous if you were late, the instructor may have to wait until the end of the workshop to explain anything that you missed.


Is there a list of meeting locations for field workshops or events that do not take place at the Festival Headquarters?

It is the festival participant’s responsibility to map out meeting locations prior to the field workshop.  It is best to arrive 15 minutes early for field workshops with your gear ready.  

Click for a list of field trip locations with addresses.


How long does it take to get from location to location?

St. Augustine is a vacation destination that can be quite busy especially during peak hours (7-9 am and 4-6 pm) Plan ahead and allow sufficient travel time between events at the GTM Research Reserve (Festival headquarters) in South Ponte Vedra Beach to St. Augustine (downtown and the Alligator Farm).


Below are estimated drive times.  Please allow additional time so you can arrive early.


GTM Research Reserve to Castillo de San Marcos

     - 25 minutes (see parking info below)

GTM Research Reserve to Alligator Farm -

    **35 minutes

GTM Research Reserve to Municipal Marina

   - 25 minutes (see parking info below)

GTM Research Reserve to Ripple Effect Ecotours -

    **50 minutes

GTM Research Reserve to Pioneer Barn

    25 minutes


** The Bridge of Lions goes up on the hour and ½ past (every 30 minutes). Traffic is heavier during peak hours (7-9 am and 4-6 pm) Please plan accordingly so you are not late for your event.


Where is the best/easiest place to find parking in downtown St. Augustine?

Parking can be a challenge in the downtown St. Augustine area.  Here is some helpful information.


Parking for the Municipal Marina Boat Trips:

All boat trips leaving from the Municipal Marina at 111 Avenida Menendez must find offsite parking.  The Municipal Marina does not have a parking lot.  There is metered street parking and there are paid lots within walking distance. Please allow at least 20 minutes to park and walk to the Marina for boat trips. Please note that metered parking is FREE after 5 p.m. and on Sundays.


Parking for Downtown Morning Light with Vinny Colucci OR Downtown Photo Walk with Brett Wells Field Workshops:

These field workshops will meet in the Castillo Parking lot and begin promptly at their start time.  Please allow 20 minutes to park and walk. There is a metered parking lot at the Castillo de San Marcos for you to utilize.  You must pay for parking from 8 am to 5 pm Please note that metered parking is FREE after 5 pm and on Sundays. If you cannot find parking in the metered parking lot at the Castillo de San Marcos, there is a parking garage behind the Visitors Information Center, located at 10 W. Castillo Dr. for $15 or side street parking.  


Click for a map of downtown with parking lots.


What is the typical weather like in northeast Florida?

Florida’s Historic Coast has a warm humid temperate climate which can turn to cool at night.  It’s best to be prepared for warm weather during the day and have a light jacket with you for the evenings.

Average high in April – 80°

Average low in April – 62°


Is there a host hotel offering special rates for Festival attendees?

There are a few hotels that are offering special rates for Festival Participants. Click to visit our lodging page.


What activities are available for non-photographers?

On Florida’s Historic Coast, we're never at a loss for things to do. Discover attractions like the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. Dive into history at the Fountain of Youth and Castillo de San Marcos. Visit beautiful beaches, or go fishing or golfing. Plus we've got dining, shopping and nightlife.


Questions?  Email Brittany or Erin at [email protected]