Friday, March 7, 2014

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

This 210 acre park is a treasure trove of native Florida wildlife and one of the only places you can see a West Indian manatee up close and personal 365 days a year.

It also serves as a rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned West Indian manatees, which reside in the freshwater springs while re-acclimating to a natural environment before being released to the wild.

At the center of the park is a freshwater spring that produces millions of gallons of fresh, crystal clear water every hour.  The outflow from this spring creates the Homosassa River.  There is an underground observatory where you can view the thousands of fish that gather in the warmth of the springs.

I’m not always a big lover of zoos and feel sad for the animals held captive there, especially when they are lacking adequate space for their species.  But the nice thing about this facility is that most of the birds and animals living here cannot survive in the wild.  The park provides them with a habitat and diet as natural as possible.

This park has the distinction of being America’s only two-time winner of the National Gold Medal. 

Even though all the animals here are native to Florida, there is one exception.  His name is Lucifer…Lu to his friends.  Lu was born at the San Diego zoo in 1960 and has been a resident of Homosassa Springs since 1964.  In his youth, Lu was part of Ivan Tors Animal Actors and starred on television and in movies.

Since he is obviously not a native to Florida he should have been removed, but there was such an outcry from the community and a petition was started to keep him.  He was declared an Honorary Citizen of the State of Florida by Governor Lawton Chiles so he could live out his days in the park.

The wolves were only play fighting, but it certainly looked ferocious to me.

I’m not sure which part of the park was my favorite…each section was special in its own way.   

The birds were beautiful and all around everywhere you looked.  

The alligators and snakes always fascinate me in a creepy way. 

The flowers and foliage is so lush and vibrant. 

There are many more photos I'd love to share with you, but the internet is so slow....hopefully the next place will allow me to show the rest. 

It’s always a good day when you take a walk through a wildlife park.  This was the best part of the area and we’re off tomorrow for Old Town, about 70 miles to the north.

Long Live the Queen


  1. i'm glad they are well-tended to there. :)

  2. I love the photos! That's a great pix of you and Pete. As soon as I find Old Town on one of our maps, I'll see if there's a way we can catch up. Can't wait to hear about the new park. I'm trying to catch up on my blog reading while the internet is playing nice nice. It doesn't last very long. sighhhhh. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.