Manatees at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park


 

   Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Year-round underwater manatee viewing

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Manatee Viewing at Homosassa Springs
Wildlife State Park


Located seven miles south of the town of Crystal River on U.S. 19, the 150-acre Homosassa Springs Wildlife State 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.

  
Besides being 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.


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

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

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.


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

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