Saturday, July 21, 2012

Homosassa springs wildlife state park

Homosassa Springs is not your typical state park.  Unlike most state parks there are very few hiking trails... but there are a lot of animals.  Homosassa serves more as a nature center, where they accept injured animals that cannot be released back into the wild and display them.  So most of the animals there are native to the florida region.

They had reptiles and mammals; like alligators, snakes, red foxes, cougars, and bobcats.

They also had a variety of birds, including several species of owls and hawks.  They had just opened a new exhibit, a walk-in aviary, when we went.  This exhibit featured many shorebirds like ospreys, herons, and my new obsession, the spoonbill.  This was very much my favorite part of the park.

The start of the Homosassa river was located on the grounds of the park, a lovely spring which turned the waters all shades of blue and green and kept the water temperatures at 72 degrees (22 degrees Celsius) year round.

Of course, the park's most notable residents were found in the spring... the manatees.  These manatees were non-releasable, and so could not swim out of their paddock, but plenty of their wild relatives can be seen in the lower river and near-by Crystal River, especially during the winter.

Not all of the wildlife was there to be rehabilitated.  Some of them were just there to pick up some free food.  This Great Blue Heron joined the pelicans for feeding time, and then promptly flew off.

There were almost hourly talks being given at various spots in the park, so there was always something to check out.  For the most part, the talks were interesting and informative, and tended to coincide with feeding time for that particular animal.  My one regret was the very last talk we went to, where the presenter didn't show proper respect for the baby alligator he was handling.  That was very distressing to watch, but may be a bug for that particular presenter and not the others as a whole.

So, if you're looking for a place to go hiking and possibly get a glimpse of animals in the wild, Homosassa may not be the place for you. But if you're in the mood for a zoo-like atmosphere and a chance to see some of the native animals up close and personal, this is a good place to go.


Pam Williams said...

Very helpful information as my husband and I are contemplating a trip to Homosassa. Are there a lot of biting insects (mosquitos, noseeums, etc.)? Thanks!
Pam at 2 Encourage

Brine Queen said...

Yes!! Like most places where there's a lot of water, there's a lot of mosquitos. We were a little unlucky in that we decided to walk the "trail" from the parking lot to the park entrance in the light rain, so all of our bug spray kept getting washed off.