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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

Spring 2014 Manager's Message

Spring has arrived in Florida, and there is so much to see and enjoy at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. The azaleas are in bloom, and the birds are in their breeding plumage. Look up and you will find nests in the treetops, while flamingos, pelicans and Sandhill cranes are building nests and raising their young along the banks and islands. Roseate spoonbills and shorebirds are tending nests in their habitats.

The animals are welcoming the warmer weather with increased activity. Three Red wolves are enjoying their habitat. Homosassa Springs is one of a very few places where you can see endangered West Indian manatees, Whooping cranes, Florida Key deer, and Red wolves up close. All these animals are endangered species.

Everyone at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park is excited about an endangered Florida panther kitten that will be coming to live at the Park later this year. The week-old kitten was rescued by biologists from Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida after it had been abandoned by its mother.

The Park is home to four resident manatees as part of an inter-agency partnership for the rehabilitation and release of injured and orphaned manatees. Other manatees come to the Park for rehabilitation before being released back to the wild.

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, otter, and maybe even an alligator. Every day offers a new experience.

And that’s just the beginning. Our elevated boardwalk system provides a great view of the wildlife, including bears, bobcats, deer, alligators, and a wide variety of wading birds, birds of prey, and songbirds. The Park’s River otters are showing off to entertain our visitors. A Reptile House provides close-up viewing of snakes and other reptiles.

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. Three Manatee Programs, two Wildlife Encounters, and an Alligator/Hippopotamus Program are presented throughout the day, giving visitors an opportunity to learn more about Florida's wildlife.

The Homosassa River Walk and Manatee Interpretation area includes a boardwalk that wraps around the spring with a spacious glass-fronted interpretation area with accessible seating up front.

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 enjoy a picnic lunch comfortably. The Wildside Café, our snack bar at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, offers indoor and outdoor patio dining area.

A monthly focus on the importance of Native Plants and Florida’s orchids will include two programs. The Citrus County Native Plant Society will present a program of native plants, and Jeff Rundell will offer a program on orchids as part of the Park’s early history and Florida’s native orchids. Exhibits about native plants will on display in the Visitor Center throughout April.

On Saturday, April 19, 2014, the Park will be celebrating Earth Day with an Easter Egg Hunt followed by exhibits in the Garden of the Springs and interpretive carts along the Wildlife Walk. Monthly bird walks and summer camp programs are all scheduled in the upcoming months. Be sure to look at the complete listing of our Special Events for more information on this and other upcoming events.

A day at the Wildlife Park is a day you'll long remember, the ideal family outing. Leave your

- 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.

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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.