By Faith Miller
Homosassa is home to several fun-filled activities for families to enjoy year-round. The area is home to nearly 30 natural springs, several of which are open to the public for a variety of activities, including the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park.
According to the Florida State Parks organization, the mixture of water coming from the three sources in this location causes a large amount of both freshwater and saltwater species to call this spring home. It is also historically known for being a winter gathering place for West Indian manatees.
The park is located at 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd. in Homosassa and has entrance fees that vary depending on age. People who are ages 13 and up are $13, ages 6-12 are $5 and ages 5 and under are free. The state park is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and the ticket office closes at 4:45 p.m., according to the company’s website.
The park offers several fun experiences for families to enjoy together, such as nature walks that include the various animals that are being taken care of.
“Unable to survive in the wild for various reasons, the park’s captive wildlife are ambassadors for their species, promoting conservation through education,” states the company website.
The facility includes an experience known as ‘The Fish Bowl Underwater Observatory,’ where people can come observe several species of fish as well as manatees. The observatory floats in the main spring along with offering a live-feed television screen on the sundeck, allowing visitors to see the animals from what appears to be an underwater perspective, according to the company’s site.
The location also offers hiking and bird-watching through various trails. The designated hiking trail is estimated on the website to be a 1.1-mile-long trail that offers elevated ramps to those in trailers and wheelchairs. This trail also has benches and rain shelters available if ever needed. The designated bird-watching trail is 0.75 miles long and allows guests the opportunity to partake in “birding and nature study.” Covered picnic areas are also available for guests to enjoy.