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There is no shortage of sightseeing spots in Tampa, but if you travel just a little farther from the city limits you will uncover a world you didn't know existed - literally.
Located just under an hour north of the city you will find Jay B. Starkey Park, home to miles of trails, wildlife, and perhaps most excitingly of all, a mystical secret land of folklore's most mischievous creatures: gnomes.
Off of one of the parking lot trails you can find the very well-hidden and appropriately named "Gnome Zone."
But despite the permanently-placed signage promising a land of gnomes, the actual residents are often mysteriously missing.
We wanted to find out why, so our writer Rachael got in touch with park officials to uncover the secrets of the disappearing gnomes, and it turns out that it's not so secret after all.
According to park officials, when the gnomes are left out they start to go missing (and probably not because of they walked away on their own), so to keep people from stealing the hauntingly adorable little dwarfs, the park limits their time in public.
Unbenounced and to the disappointment of many who come in search of the promised lands, the gnomes generally make an appearance only when there are children-involved events hosted at the park.
But all hope of finding a mythical friend at Starkey is not lost.
During the times of no events, you can still see some gnomes scattered throughout the miles of hiking trails.
Sometimes they'll be in plain sight, and other times not so much. There are no markers telling you where they are placed - so it's up to you to keep a sharp eye out.
Think of it like a quest; the rewards never come easy but they're sure worth it!
And if you want to contribute to the magical experience, you can totally bring those fairy garden items you have stored away in the shed and give them a new (hopefully permanent) home at Starkey.
Jay B. Starkey Park is located at â10500 Wilderness Park Blvd, New Port Richey, and open from sunrise to sunset daily.