Voted the best state park in the country more than once the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park is a truly unique state park experience. The park is full of mostly endangered, threatened and injured wild animals that are native to the state of Florida. The Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park is more like a zoo than a typical state park.
The greatest attraction to the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park is the manatees that live in the natural springs. The manatee viewing area at the park allows visitors to see the manatees both from above and below the water. The park volunteers also give a great presentation where they feed the manatees while educating the public on the history of the parks manatees as well as manatees in general. This is one best ways to see manatees up close and personal.
Winter is a great time to visit the fishbowl because the warm springs attract thousands of fish to the warm springs. The cold winter weather also brings wild manatees to the head springs; park volunteers have counted as many as fifty manatees swimming in the warm springs that surround the park. The wild manatees can not enter the barred off area that the protected manatees live in, but you can see them from the many wooden walkways that loop through the park.
Besides the manatees there are a variety of other unique animals that live in the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park such as a bobcat, Florida panther, alligators and a flock of pink flamingos. There is only one animal in the park that is not native to Florida, and that is Lou the hippo. Lou is leftover from the days when the park used to be the winter home to a traveling exotic animal show. When Lou was to be removed from the park the governor received so many letters asking for Lou to stay that he made Lou the hippo and honorary citizen of Florida.
When visiting the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park you can park at the main entrance on US Highway 19 and ride a pontoon boat to the parks east entrance where the actual park is located. If you are running short on time you can skip the boat ride and park at the east entrance, giving you more time to explore the park.
When paying your admission to the park, $9.00 for adults, be sure to ask what times the special education programs are hosted. These special programs vary depending upon the day, but are always fun and educational.
The Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park does have some food and drink options available, but if you have a picky diet or would like to save money you can pack your own lunch and drinks for your visit to the park.
The Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park is located at 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd, Homosassa, FL 34446. Their phone number is (352) 628-5343.