In another Beyond The Parks edition, we explore Homosassa Springs State Park.
Want to get up close and personal with Florida’s Vibrant wildlife? Discover the wild-side of Florida with endangered Florida panthers, red wolves, manatees and whooping cranes, plus black bears, bobcats, and, of course, alligators.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park occupies almost 200 acres around Homosassa Spring, which is the primary source for the Homosassa River. The main entrance to the Park is along US19 in the town of Homosassa Springs where you will find ample parking, a visitor center, snack bar and gift shop. From that location, you can take a tram or pontoon boat to the west entrance about a half mile away. The central feature of Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the main spring, where you can view the spring from the “Fish Bowl” floating underwater observatory, where East Indian manatees are almost always present. A unique underwater structure, the Underwater Observatory, allows visitors to “walk underwater” beneath the spring’s surface and watch the various fish and manatees swim about. An astounding number of fresh and saltwater fish still congregate in the natural spring bowl—large jacks, snapper, snook and others. The Park serves an important role of being a rehabilitation center for orphaned or injured manatees that recuperate in the spring waters before being released again to the wild.
The park also features a variety of captive animals such as alligators, black bears, red wolf, key deer, flamingos, whooping cranes and the oldest hippopotamus named Lu in captivity. The native wildlife that reside in the park serve as ambassadors for their species, providing visitors face-to-face connections between the diverse Florida habitats and the animals that call those habitats home
Paved, wheelchair accessible paths wind throughout the park, allowing easy access for viewing black bear, Florida panther, bobcats, deer, alligators, and many other species. In addition to the animals that are housed at the park – most of which have been injured, or for some other reason cannot survive in the wild – a large number of wild birds and other species call the Park home.
Hours are 9:00 – 5:30
Adults (age 13+) $13, Children (ages 6-12) $5, Children 5 and under, free
4150 S. Suncoast Blvd.
Homosassa FL 34446 (352) 628-5343