Summer is the perfect time of year to spend the day exploring a wildlife state park, but with so many to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Florida however is the place to go if you want to meet a manatee face-to-face, and see some of the states native animals in their natural habitat. 

Located in Homosassa, Florida, the park lets visitors get the chance to experience native Florida animals in a much more natural setting than an average zoo. 

“Visitors can see West Indian manatees every day of the year from the park's underwater observatory in the main spring. The park showcases native Florida wildlife, including manatees, black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters.” -

The park has been named one of the best places in the state to peep some manatees, and many of the animals you’ll see are being treated for injuries before being released back into the wild. When you visit, you’ll get an up-close look at some of the animals, like the black bears, alligators, and bobcats, atop the floating observatory. The park is also home to famous Hippo Lu, who has appeared in movies for over 40 years, and is now enjoying his retirement at the wildlife park. 

While you’re there, take advantage of the volunteers and guides who are so knowledgeable about the animals and the surrounding park that they’ve won the Gold Metal Award for the National Recreation and Parks Association not once, but twice. Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is a refuge run by people who love animals and want to help preserve and educate the public about the importance of caring about the environment on a local level. 

If you’re going to be visiting Florida this road trip season, and you’re looking for a positive, guilt-free zoo and wildlife refuge to visit, the Ellie Shiller Homossa Springs Wildlife State Park is absolutely the place to spend an afternoon learning about the Florida’s amazing natural wetlands and woods, while peeping some pretty adorable animals in the process. 

Featured image credit: Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

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