When it comes to Tower Grove Park, visitors often forget that it's also a garden spot for bird watchers and nature lovers.

Where • Between Grand Boulevard and Kingshighway; and Magnolia Avenue to the north and Arsenal Street on the south.

Trail lengths • Four-mile perimeter, about double that including internal trails that follow the internal roads.

Surface • All of the main walkways are paved.

Bird watching • Friends of Tower Grove Park document about 200 bird species and numerous fur-bearing animals.

• Spring is a good time to watch for migratory warblers and thrushes.

• Year-round birds include woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, Carolina wrens, mockingbirds, cardinals, robins and owls.

• Summer is a prime time to look for goldfinches and warblers. Hummingbird enthusiasts lurk around red flowers.

• Winter residents include slate-colored juncos, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, and white throated sparrows.

Bird watching locations • Friends of Tower Grove Park singled out the following locations for the best birding:

1. Robert and Martha Gaddy Wild Bird Garden • Near the corner of Kingshighway and Magnolia. Native plants attract olive-sided flycatchers, numerous vireos and many of the warblers.

2. Stable area and adjacent wet weather stream • Especially in wet weather, this site is good for winter wrens, thrushes and rose-breasted grosbeaks.

3. Lily and Fountain ponds • Migrating mallards swim the pools in the spring and fall. Summer brings green-backed herons and kingfishers here. On summer evenings watch for chimney swifts and nighthawks.

4. The East Creek, Woodland Pool, and the Cypress Circle • Situated between Humboldt Circle and Cypress Circle are wet areas that can attract rarities such as a Louisiana waterthrush and Cooper's hawks.

Animals you'll see • Gray squirrels, cottontail rabbits, moles, raccoons, opossums and an occasional gray or red fox. Several varieties of bats help to keep insects under control.

Frogs • Green, southern leopard frogs and bull frogs live around the ponds. Some nights are full of croaking by frogs and toads.

Insects • Five-lined skinks chase small beetles around the ruins, and box turtles stroll sheltered areas in search of earthworms or mulberries.

Fish • Minnows and goldfish reside in the ponds before they're drained in the fall.

Restrooms • In the park.

Dogs • On leash. Be courteous. A lot of dogs are pulling owners around the park.

Accessibility • The park is ideal for wheelchairs and slow walkers. Benches are everywhere.

More information • Friends of Tower Grove Park, alturl.com/4t6rr; Tower Grove Park office, 314-771-2679; Webster Groves Nature Study Society, 314-935-8432; St. Louis Audubon Society, 314-822-6595.


South Grand Boulevard Mother's Day Tour

Where • The ride begins at the Commerce Bank, 3134 South Grand Boulevard.

Registration • 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

How long • Routes of 5, 18 and 34 miles and include parts of the Bike St. Louis routes.

How much • $8 registration.

Special features • Moms and children under 10 are free; moms are eligible for prizes.