Sunday, October 02, 2011

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park- Homosassa, Florida

Crystal River, Florida  - Crystal Isles Rv Resort

Since Saturday was the first cool day in many months, we didn’t want to spend it indoors.  It was a beautiful warm, low humidity day and one of the reasons we love being in Florida in the fall and winter months.  It didn’t even get to 80 degrees!

We used our Florida Parks annual pass and got into Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park for free.  The normal admission price is $13 each.  The  $120 we paid for this pass is paying for itself.

It’s a pretty popular place because you can see many native Florida species.  We first started going there over 30 years ago before the state purchased the property.  They had all kinds of domestic animals including as well as many of the ones we saw today.  Once the state purchased the property they wanted to have only native species.  The wildlife here cannot go back into the wild for whatever reason.  Some have injuries that prevent them from hunting or flying and some have just been born in captivity and don’t know how to fend for themselves.  They also rehab injured Manatee and do a lot of very good work. 

The admission price includes boat rides on the river or a tram if you prefer.

The park is on the Homosassa River, which is another of Florida’s beautiful spring fed rivers.  The water is clear and a constant temperature of about 72 degrees.

The river.

Homosassa River

Near the spring, the water is pretty clear.

Homosassa Springs

In the winter months it is full of Manatee. When the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic waters are warm, they stay offshore.  When the water temperature cools down they go to the “warm” waters of the Florida springs.  Unfortunately many manatee are injured and killed each year by boat propellers.  They are slow moving and can’t get out of the way of boat props.   We only saw one manatee in the river.  The picture wasn’t great so I didn’t include it.  I’ll have lots more manatee pictures throughout the winter.

This is the underwater manatee viewing area.  In season, this place would be full of manatee.  There were none today.

Homosassa Springs

We did see some large snook.

snook from the viewing area

and a lot of other fish.

fish seen from the underwater viewing area

This park does a lot of manatee rescue and rehab.  The following picture is evidently kind of a “lock” to get the manatee into a temporary holding tank.

manatee "locks"

The next picture is the holding tank.   We saw 3 manatee in this holding tank.  They can be brought up to the surface to be treated.  Most manatee have scars on their backs from boat props.

manatee holding tanks

We strolled along the paths and observed many beautiful animals.



Flamingo and white pelicans



Florida Panther

Florida panther

Bald Eagles



When the state bought the park and removed any non native species, there was an outcry from the people of Florida.  This hippo “Lucifer” had been a residents of the park since the 1960’s.  Then Governor Lawton Chiles signed a reprieve to allow Lu to stay.  He is 51 years old now.



He rolled over.  That is his foot you see in the picture below.

hippo rolling with foot in the air

There are lots of pretty flowers.

yellow flowers

Pinecone ginger

pinecone ginger



There is a reptile area.  Not my favorite but Al wanted to go inside.

Florida Indigo snake.  He’s actually quite pretty.

Indigo snake

Diamondback Rattlesnake

diamond back rattlesnake


copper head snake

baby alligator

baby alligators

It was a perfect day to be outside and we sure enjoyed it.  Tonight is supposed to get down into the upper 40’s!   Brrr…   All of our winter clothes are in Georgia in our storage shed, including our nice warm blanket!  That’s okay though, we’ll still have the windows open!

Al informed me that Saturday night he couldn’t be disturbed as he had to watch a baseball game and two football games.  I tivo’d a couple movies and plan to go to my room!

Baxter found a small opening behind the couch.  We had already seen it and stuffed a pillow into the hole to keep the other cats out, but Baxter got in anyway.  It just goes under the couch and we can open the bottom to get him out, but we don’t like him climbing up the couch to get back out.  I filled up the hole and he was so mad.  He acted like a naughty two year old having a temper tantrum.  He was storming around, meowing and trying to pull the pillow out.  I finally decided to let him go back there and in a day or two he’ll find a new favorite spot.  The little stinker!

Here he is on the steering wheel.



  1. Thanks for the tour of the state park. What an interesting place that is. I wonder how long hippos live in captivity?

  2. Great tour. I loved that picture of the baby alligator. That was really neat. Glad Baxter is keeping you on your toes.

  3. Looks like a great place for many of the animals. I felt sorry for the panther though sitting there looking through the fence. I wonder how much room they have for him to roam.

    I'd love to know how far in advance you make your Dec through March reservations in Florida and where you are staying. We want to be there but only have been able to find places through Mid January and I've been looking since June.


  4. Thanks for the terrific pictures and tour of the park. Baxter seems to be having fun.

  5. Sherry

    I felt sorry for the panther too, but he had a pretty nice habitat.

    Email me about places to stay in Florida this winter. There are plenty! Uu

  6. I didn't know that flamingos were native. That really does look like a beautiful park. If we ever make it to Florida I think that pass i an excellent buy. Is it $120 for both of you or each?

  7. Merikay

    The $120 pass is a family pass. It will pay for itself.

    Wait till tomorrows blog...a REALLY pretty park!

  8. Another beautiful Florida State Park. Do you have to be a Florida resident to get that annual park pass? I am so looking forward to the day when we can spend a couple of months in beautiful Florida in the fall and winter.


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