Looking for a guaranteed manatee sighting? Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is just the place! Located along Florida’s Nature Coast this state park is absolutely worth a visit. Homosassa Springs State Park serves as a rehabilitation and refuge center for injured manatees as well as other Florida wildlife. It’s on of our favorite parks to visit in the winter when the manatees make their way into the warm spring water.
Getting to Homosassa Springs State Park
When you enter Homosassa Springs you’ll have the option of taking the tram or a boat ride to the main park. Our family chose the boat ride, both the tram and boat are included in admission. It was fun and educational! We saw many turtles, including a gigantic very old one, plenty of fish, and an eagles nest, among many other birds.
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park gives you a rare opportunity to get up close to Florida’s wildlife.
The wildlife on exhibit are unable to survive on their own in the wilderness providing visitors with a rare treat to witness Florida’s wildlife in their natural environment. Daily manatee feedings and wildlife encounters promote conservation through educational programs.
At Homosassa Springs you can learn all about manatees.
My daughters loved learning all about manatees at the daily feeding. There were two injured manatees going through rehabilitation when we visited. The rangers in the park answered every question the girls had. Manatee programs are held three times daily and are a must see.
Paved trails and boardwalks wind you through the park to view native Florida wildlife.
Manatees, deer, alligators, river otters, bears and more can be viewed in the park. Stop by and say hi to Lu, a hippopotamus that has been at the park since the 70s! Along the trail, you’ll come to the Fish Bowl Underwater Observatory that floats in the mainspring. You’ll be able to get a fisheye view of whatever is floating and swimming in the spring. My girls loved being underwater with the fish!
We ended our visit with a stroll along the Wildlife Walk. Along the trail are observation decks to view the spring and Homosassa River. To our surprise and joy, we saw manatee here too! In the colder months, many manatee tend to gather in the Homosassa River to keep warm.
Visiting Homosassa Springs State Park is a perfect way to spend a day on Florida’s Nature Coast any time of the year.
The park features a children’s education center, with hands-on activities about Florida’s environment. Concessions and a gift shop are located on-site. There is plenty in the park for all to enjoy.
If you’re interested in learning more about springs in Florida, we recommend Touring the Springs of Florida: A Guide to the State’s Best Springs. It’s a great resource for day trips that your family is sure to love!
Jillian Gishler is a New Englander at heart. Born in Jacksonville Beach, she grew up in Massachusetts but was beckoned back to Florida by Mickey Mouse for a Disney World Internship. She returned to the beach in 2005 after graduating from Florida State. Ten years ago she opened her handmade & vintage collective shop, Sew Vicious, in Neptune Beach. Jillian raises chickens, is a passionate gardener, a DIYer, a thrift store junkie, and a deal loving mama who runs Sunny Savings. She leads her daughters Girl Scout Troop, teaches sewing at a local Montessori School, and is a Parents Who Lead Alumni. She loves surprising her husband and daughters with mini-vacations around the Sunshine State.
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