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“One of the best state parks in Florida”

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
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Crystal River Manatee Swim from Orlando
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Rehabilation center for injured animals, with a broad selection of birds and reptiles, including the manatee.
Reviewed January 8, 2014

This is probably one of the best state parks in Florida!

I had visited this park 15-20 years ago when I lived 3 hours away. Now that I live a little over an hour I had not visited this park. So one day in December when I was off I decided to just break down and take the family for a day trip. What a day trip it was.

First off, there are two parking areas for the park. One is across the street from the park while the other is on a main road and is a 3/4 mile hike or tram ride away. I did not find the remote parking area, but instead found the close parking area. There were plenty of spaces and it was a simply walk across the street to get to the park. Second item, if you are a AAA member you will get a 20% discount so remember to take your card.

This park is truly lovely it has an amazing collection of animals with the convenience of boardwalks. The honorary hippo Florida citizen is one of the first things you see and is always a delight. There is a lovely array of animals including foxes, bald eagles, and bears oh my.

The park is actually really well maintained it is pretty accessible in most respects. There are quarter food machines so if you would like to feed the birds make sure to bring some quarters with you. My favorite place in the park was the aviary where I got to stare down an Osprey. Additionally, the number of birds that are being cared for and are flightless (two of the Bald Eagles had clear damage to one wing) make for an amazing sight.

This park has so many different animals it is hard for me to remember them all. The otters were a blast to watch, basically played the time I watched them. Then there was the herp area, deers, manatees, etc. The under water viewing area provided an excellent view of the under water wildlife.

At the end of the day this park provides an excellent getaway in beautiful central Florida. My recommendation to you is to try to visit over a 4 hour period. When we got there around 12:30 there were certain animals that were not out such as the bear and cougar, but the otters were at play. While at 4 PM the bear and cougar were out and the otters were no where to be seen.

The concession stand is in the entry building and provides a good place to have lunch or a snack, a little over priced for the venue and quality but I would stop there again. The meal price for three people was $27 which included a wrap, pizza, chicken tenders, soft pretzel, chips, and soda.

Park staff are friendly and attentive and seem to care about the park. All-in-all this is a great place to visit. Thank you to the director, dedicated staff, and volunteers that make this a great place to visit.

Thank A S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"boat ride"
in 440 reviews
"underwater observatory"
in 99 reviews
"fish bowl"
in 50 reviews
"red wolves"
in 23 reviews
"whooping cranes"
in 26 reviews
"black bear"
in 41 reviews
"florida panther"
in 49 reviews
"resident hippo"
in 20 reviews
"manatee feeding"
in 20 reviews
"educational programs"
in 21 reviews
"reptile house"
in 20 reviews
"bald eagles"
in 61 reviews
"visitor center"
in 45 reviews
"natural setting"
in 27 reviews
"injured animals"
in 22 reviews
"old florida"
in 54 reviews
"viewing area"
in 27 reviews

1,468 - 1,472 of 2,094 reviews

Reviewed January 7, 2014

Love that all the wildlife is native to Florida with the exception of Lucifer the hippo, and he has been made an honary resident....... There is a lot of walking, but all easy. we have been several times.

Thank Dottie1944
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Up close dry look at manatees. The fishbowl is a must for the view of all the fish. Right on the Homosassa River main spring.

Thank RHayes127
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Love this place. Great for adults and kids. Gotta see Lou the Hippo. Some good history of the area as well is offered in photos. And of course the Manatees are the top attraction.

Thank Diplomatok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 6, 2014

Visiting our parents from New England. Very impressed with ALL aspects of this park. Price is right for the multiple experiences offered. Staff: Friendly, inviting, knowledgable, professional, keep in mind it seems that most are Volunteering their time to help your experience here be pleasurable.The entire staff were above par. Pleasant boat ride with Mark on pepper creek narrated to park entrance....Wonderful. Great interpretive events to help learn about the different "members" of the park. So much more than I ever expected. It was so cold outside but we spent 3.5 hours here and we enjoyed our day immensely. Manatees were visible active and eating. Plus so many varieties of fish, birds and wild mammals. We regained warmth in the reptile house. I HIGHLY recommend a visit here and wished we never made the trip to the Clearwater Aquarium where we were terribly disappointed!

Thank Debbie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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