We took a trip to Homosassa Springs, a natural spring and wildlife area one hour west of where we are staying in Summerfield, FL. Homosassa Springs is the home of several manatee that are being rehabilitated for a return to the wild, plus several other animals that are rescues and most likely permanent residents of the park.
From the visitor’s center, we took a boat trip into the main area of the park. This was a great opportunity to see the abundant wildlife along Pepper Creek.
We remembered to bring our binoculars along, so we were able to spot lots of wildlife.
View of the creek from the boat:
On the creek we spotted alligators, turtles, a great blue heron, wood ducks, some fish, and a few egrets, to name a few.
We got off the boat and entered the main park, where we were just in time for a manatee talk. We learned about how manatees are herbivores, have no natural predators (except boats!) and therefore no natural defenses. We discovered that they like warm waters, at least 68 degrees F. They migrate to this part of Florida in the fall because the park’s spring water is naturally warm and they can survive the winter here. The park opens its gates to allow them in during migration season.
There is a floating observation area, called “The Fishbowl”, above the spring. Inside, you can get a 270 degree view of the spring area and the multitudes of fish that like to hang out here.
The park is also a wildlife sanctuary, and we got to see a few interesting specimens, like the Florida Bobcat and Panther, the ubiquitous alligator, the bald eagle, some river otters, and several types of wading birds.