View All Parks Director's Message

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

 About Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

A flamingo walks through the water at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Photo by Robert Keating.

A NOTE FROM THE MANAGER

Kimberlee Tennille

Summer 2014 Manager's Message

 

The summer season is here at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Florida and there is much to see and enjoy. Four young River otters are out swimming; the Roseate Spoonbills are nesting and raising their young, and our three Red Wolves are exploring their habitat.

Homosassa Springs is one of a very few places where you can see endangered West Indian Manatees, Whooping Cranes, Red Wolves, Key Deer, and our newest addition a Florida Panther kitten, Yuma.

The week-old kitten was rescued by biologists after being abandoned in the Panther Preserve near Naples. After being treated at an emergency animal hospital in Naples and then transferred to Lowry Park Zoo, it was decided that having been raised by humans, he would not survive if returned to the wild, and that Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park would be his new home. Yuma, meaning son of the chief, was chosen for the panther’s name. He is now five months old and weighs about 30 pounds. Yuma will be an Ambassador for the endangered Florida Panther.

The Park's resident manatees make the first-magnitude spring their home, along with fresh and salt water fish that are free to come and go. The Fish Bowl, a floating underwater observatory, offers an unequalled, below-water view of manatees and fish in the crystal clear spring environment.

The Park’s Homosassa River Walk and Manatee Observation areas encompass an elevated boardwalk that starts at the Park entrance, surrounds the main spring and continues to the Fish Bowl underwater observatory. The viewing area is glass-fronted with bleachers and a space up front for more accessible viewing during manatee programs.

A new Shorebird Aviary at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park allows visitors to enter the enclosed viewing area for close-up views of the birds and great opportunities for nature photography.


Start your visit with a leisurely pontoon boat ride down Pepper Creek to the Wildlife Park. Along the way, you may see Ospreys nesting, Limpkins, Herons or Egrets wading in the creek, Wood Ducks swimming along; not to mention turtles sunning on logs, fish and, maybe even an otter or the occasional alligator. Every day a different experience awaits.

And that’s just the beginning. Our Wildlife Walk elevated boardwalk system provides a great view of the wildlife, including a Florida panther, Florida Black bears, bobcats, deer, alligators and a wide variety of wading birds, birds of prey, and songbirds.

The Children's Education Center has recently been renovated and has now reopened. New exhibits and activities are being added.

A picnic pavilion at the Visitor Center offers visitors the opportunity to comfortably enjoy a picnic lunch. The Wildside Café, our snack bar at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, offers indoor and outdoor patio dining area.

July’s monthly focus is on Gopher Tortoises and Florida turtles and will include two programs and exhibits in the Visitor Center and the Education Center. The endangered Florida Panther will be the focus for August with programs and exhibits. Be sure to look for the complete listing of our Special Events for more information.

Three manatee programs, two Wildlife Encounters, and an alligator program are presented throughout the day, giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about the Florida's wildlife.

This is a day you will long remember and is the ideal family outing. Leave your everyday worries behind you as you set out to explore the Real Florida at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park and all our 171 Florida State Parks.

Our dedicated employees and friendly volunteers are waiting to welcome you!

- Kimberlee Tennille, Park Manager

DESIGNATIONS

The Florida's Springs Logo

GETTING HERE

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is located in Homosassa Springs, 75 miles north of Tampa on U.S. 19 and 90 miles northwest of Orlando.

GET INVOLVED

CONCESSIONAIRES

PET POLICY

  • Florida State Parks Pet Policy
  • The park provides complimentary kennels at the main entrance of the park on US 19 for those visitors traveling with pets. They are self-service and free. Pets are not permitted inside the wildlife park.  Service animals are welcome where the public is normally allowed.