5 Reasons to Visit Homosassa Springs State Park
Manatees, Hippos, and Bears - Oh My!
Homosassa Springs State Park is a Must for Florida Vacation.
Many people have a false assumption that Florida is all beaches, palm trees, and spray tans. The truth is, there is so much more to the Sunshine State. There are lush woodlands, intriguing and amazing wildlife, and activities for every adventurer. Homosassa Springs State Park is a wonderful state park that showcases Florida’s natural beauty. Take a look at these reasons why you need to take a trip to Homosassa Springs State Park on your next visit to Florida.
1 | You will see amazing native and exotic animals
You will see your beach loving pelicans here, but that’s not all: there are river otters, manatees, hippos, wolves, bears, and so many more amazing animals. The 50-acre site has been a huge attraction since the early 1900s. What was once a place where animals were safely kept and loved while they were ‘off-duty’ from being in television series, is now a home to animals who are cared for that may not be able to survive in the wild. Lu, the hippopotamus, was seen in many films. He’s now an honorary citizen of the state!
The Citrus County Commission purchased the land in efforts to protect the environmentally sensitive area until the state could do so. Animal welfare has since been the utmost importance at the park.
If you visit this summer, keep your eyes peeled for the manatees exploring the crystal clear water, otters playfully swimming, the Florida Panthers exploring their habitat, and the Black Bears cooling off under a shaded tree. The hippo, Lu, and the numerous alligators are always an amazing sight to see.
2 | You can see a different point of view from the underwater observatory
The Fish Bowl is a floating underwater observatory where you can get a different perspective of the awesome Florida wildlife. Take the steps down and keep your eyes open searching for vividly colored and interesting fresh and salt water fish. You won’t miss Lorelei, Ariel, and Electra - the three resident manatees of the park!
If you stick to the schedule, you can see these awesome creatures much on plenty of lettuce for lunch during their feeding period! It’s amazing to see them up close.
3 | The River Walk is informative and engaging
Surrounding the main spring, take a hike on the River Walk. You’ll meet animals you may have never seen before and may never see again! Caring for endangered species, the park keeps these guys safe and caters to their everyday needs. Since they may not live in the wild on their own, the animals in rehabilitation are treated to make it feel at home as possible.
The Shorebird aviary allows visitors inside an enclosed area for up close views of the birds. You can even feed them some bird seed and bring out your camera for great nature photography opportunities.
4 | Your ticket into the park buys you a pontoon boat ride
After buying your ticket, you’ll be directed to a pontoon boat where you’ll board and be driven to the park. The tour guide is full of knowledge and brings you on an adventure down Pepper Creek while narrating the ride and pointing out the wildlife. You lay see ospreys nesting atop of the trees, ducks wading, turtles tanning, fish jumping, or even an alligator swimming along!
Feel free to chat with your tour guide once you get to the park - they are full of amazing knowledge on the park, animals, and Florida wildlife.
5 | It’s a great place to learn
Throughout the day, there are three manatee programs, two wildlife encounters, and an alligator program packed with knowledge and fun. Visitors are given an opportunity to ask questions about the native and exotic species who call the park home.
The employees around the park are happy to engage with visitors, answer questions, and spark curiosity on your trip. There are signs throughout each exhibit which give insight into the lives of the animals and who they are!
Homosassa Springs State Park is a great stop for any family. If you are looking for a place to learn, explore, and entertain, check it out. On my recent trip to the park, my family from upstate New York had a great time seeing animals they’ve only seen in photos and movies.
It was a shaded walk that led us to be inspired for the next few summer days! We ended up learning so much and ready to explore more of Florida’s beauty. Homosassa Springs State Park is real Florida. Don’t be fooled - the beaches are amazing, but there is so much more to this state!