Homosassa, FL – October, 2017 One place that was not even on our radar until we reached this area and bought our Florida State Park passes was Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. It is an easily overlooked gem of a park just 10 miles south of our weeklong home on Crystal River.
We arrived just after the park’s opening at 9 am on a Tuesday morning. We were lucky to have an incredibly mild morning in the midst of 90 degree days of sweltering humidity. It was almost chilly on this 70 degree morning and perfect weather for a long walk amongst the wildlife.
This wildlife park houses many animals that are native to Florida. Just about every animal that I might hope to see in the wild in Florida is here for my photographing pleasure. Of course it’s not the same as seeing them in the wild but much more likely that I can capture their image. They may not be as cooperative as these pictures suggest but with a little time you can usually get something out of them.
If you don’t want to climb over this fence and hug this cute brown bear you are not human. He/she finally took her snout outta the bushes and sorta looked at me so I could get a portrait.
It wouldn’t be a Florida wildlife exhibit without birds and this place had a ton of them. I have been infatuated with Roseate Spoonbills since another blogger featured them.
Until now I have only seen a flock of them in a far off field and a single bird stopped by our campground before we left Florida last year. This place had an aviary you could walk through with several of them. They did not seem to mind our presence.
When they did tire of us they could easily escape.
This fellow was sitting just inside the aviary demanding his share of attention.
Before my infatuation with the spoonbills I sorta had a thing for these guys. I could still watch them all day with their slinky necks and updside down eating habits.
I couldn’t leave this red fox alone even though it was clear I was interrupting his nap.
I’ve seen a few in the wild but they are usually so FAST. This mellow fellow never got very excited.
Another lightning fast character that was surprisingly cooperative was this otter.
It wouldn’t be a Florida zoo without some alligators.
We enjoyed a wildlife encounter with a lovely volunteer named Vicky who shared some interesting facts about baby alligators.
There was an awesome cougar in attendance. Like many of the animals she was a bit shy but if you spent enough time with her she would finally open up.
We couldn’t help but be impressed by these eagles.
The bald eagles were especially thrilling.
We also enjoyed the reptile house. It was a good place to practice our snake identification. For instance, based on our wildlife encounter at the previous day’s agenda, we correctly guessed that this was not a venomous snake but its look-alike the Scarlet King Snake.
From November to February this park is all about the manatee.
They house several manatees year-round but during the winter hundreds of manatee crowd in to Homosassa Springs to enjoy the then balmy 72 degree water. Their underwater observatory was pretty cool during the off season.
We enjoyed seeing sheep head and snook from within it.
It would be awesome to see manatee crowding around the observatory windows.
Our Florida Family Park Pass included unlimited admission for two to this amazing park. You might be interested to know that they never ID’d either of us. If you don’t possess a pass I believe the entry fee is $13 per person which is well worth the experience.