Having spent Monday night at Walmart just down the road - we arrived early to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Good news was that the large parking lot was made even larger by having overflow parking on the grass - with a bit of shade.
I had read about this park on several blogs and at Authentic Florida - everyone raved about it and so I thought we should visit. We are glad we did and even gladder that we came first thing in the morning to have the place almost to ourselves - by lunchtime when we left the place was filling up FAST.
One of the things we were excited about and thus got Cassia excited about starting the day before was the boat ride from the Visitor's Center to the wildlife area. Boy were we disappointed to find out that because the water was so low the boats weren't operating. Oh well - we got a tram ride instead.
Our first stop was to see Lou the Hippo. Lou is turning 52 soon and is being honoured with a birthday party. I haven't seen a hippo in person in quite a while.
The park is set out in two loops - the first housing all the animals in pens along the outside with the migratory birds in the middle. I sooooo enjoyed seeing the flamingos - these ones are a lot darker pink - more orange really.
To the right were the Red Wolves but I didn't take a picture - I don't much like taking pictures with a chain link fence in the way. They were beautiful though.
We had decided to leave Cassia's stroller in the truck but were sure happy to see that strollers were provided!
Ok - so one shot through the fence - a Florida Panther!
Another alligator - gee they are almost common place on this trip now.
We also stopped in to the Reptile House - not typically my favourite stop but at least the little critters are behind the glass.
These guys were neat - little alligators - even cute - Derek befriended this one - he followed Derek up and down the tank.
And oh so cute turtle - turtles I like....
snakes I don't! They had a whole bunch of snakes but don't want to scare you all off!
The first loop leads into the second - the Manatee area. This was our first encounter with the Manatee. Well we have seen probably hundreds of Manatee throughout our trip - as statues of all sorts and most commonly as mail box at the end of driveways.
Today wasn't really our day. We DID see the manatee out in the water but only a few happened to put their noses up while we were there. But still nice to see them! Did you know they are Florida's State Mammal?
No worries we thought - we will head to the underground observatory - we are bound to see Manatee there. Well no - but we did see a whole lot of fish!
Another great shot from Derek looking down into the water.
And a second looking at the same fish from above.
And so that ended our trip to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. We took these two pictures below just as we were leaving.
A friendly fellow was nice to stop and ask if we wanted a group photo.
Catching the tram for our return trip to the parking lot.
From the other blogs I read I thought this would be a whole day outing but for us it wasn't - 2 1/2 hours was the best we could do. Probably with older children - with a little more patience and understanding - it could be a day trip. No matter - we all enjoyed ourselves to make the $26 entry fee worthwhile.
Our plan was to stay Tuesday night at the Home Depot in Crystal River but since it was only 1:30 by the time we had lunch we decided to travel on to our next destination - Manatee Springs State Park.
Thanks for visiting!
PS sorry if this post seems a bit rushed - I have been sick for the last few days and don't feel so hot - and so just trying to get the post up for y'all.
Today's Interesting Link: Here is the link to Operation Explorations - a blog from a British Columbia family. They stopped in at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park last summer and got some really great pictures - especially of the manatee. AND they got to ride on the boat!