Manatee Viewing at
   Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park

Manatees viewed underwater year-round

 

 

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Manatees at Homosassa Springs State Park

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park has manatees on view any time of the year. Located 7 miles south of the town of Crystal River on U.S. 19, the 150-acre park enjoys a prime location at the headwaters of the crystal clear Homosassa River.

The park is best known for its 45-foot deep natural spring which pumps millions of gallons of water per hour. The spring is the headwaters of the Homosassa River, which meanders for 9 miles to enter the Gulf of Mexico.

A home to as many as 34 different species of fish, the park has become an important refuge for manatees born in captivity.

It also serves as a half-way house for injured manatees that can be released back into the wild.

Manatees can be viewed close-up, nose-to-nose through a floating underwater observatory, a 168-ton structure launched by sliding it into the water using , not grease, in order not to damage the fish population. The radical concept for creating a non-toxic slide was adapted from an old Max Sennett movie.

Because of its natural spring and "real world" conditions,
Homosassa Springs is a favorite last stop for a manatee about to be released into the wild.

Park rangers offer educational programs on the manatees several times daily. Call for specific times. Bleachers for these programs are next to the main spring.

In addition to the manatee viewing available 365 days a year, visitors have miles of nature trails to walk and can also cruise the Pepper Creek by tour boat.

Contact information: Call 352/628-5343. or visit website. The park entrance, 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd. 34446, is a quarter mile west of U.S. 19 in Homosassa Springs, 75 miles north of Tampa on U.S. 19 and 90 miles northwest of Orlando.

Open daily (including holidays) at 9 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. The last ticket is sold at 4 p.m. Always check to see if times have changed.

For close-up views of manatees year-round, log on to the spring's underwater web cam. (You won't see anything after sunset.)

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