This was by far the highlight of my family's vacation to the Weeki Wachee area. We came for the mermaids, but ended up finding a jewel in this wildlife park! We parked (for free) at the front of the park and went inside to view the exhibits prior to catching the boat into the park. They do a great job of making the entire park a learning experience. Once you step through the front doors, you will see numerous educational exhibits, sculptures, and even a few live creatures in the air-conditioned lobby. The gift shop and bathrooms are also located in this building. There is a Greek pastry chef selling pastries in the lobby, as well. I couldn't resist trying some! After checking out the lobby, we caught a ride on the boat into the park. The captain educated us on the trees and wildlife we saw as we made our way into the park. The ride was very pleasant, and I was able to take some great photographs along the way. Once we made it into the park, we passed under a beautiful arbor and into another gift shop/cafe area where you buy tickets. There is a military discount, for those military families out there. We grabbed a map and tickets, and made our way into the park. I suggest giving yourself the majority of a day to truly enjoy the park; it has so much to offer! We watched a manatee educational show, and got to see the girls up close in the underwater viewing area. These manatees are being rehabilitated, and at the time there were three beautiful females at the park. Please note, there may not always be manatees on site, so you may want to call prior to visit if this is a must see for you. We got to see alligators, the resident hippo, beautiful water fowl, snakes, cougars, owls, turtles, a black bear, and the list goes on and on! The park is laid out beautifully, with tons of shaded walking paths. It is so clean and well-maintained, and all of the staff we encountered were so kind, informative and helpful. I would drive all the way back to Florida to visit my new favorite wildlife park! Bring a backpack with bottled water and a camera, wear comfortable shoes, and be prepared to walk. A fun little adventure for families!
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