Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
About Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
A NOTE FROM THE MANAGER
Fall 2014 Manager's Message
Fall will soon be here bringing cooler temperatures at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. With this new season, there is much to see and enjoy. Our native Florida animals will be more active with cooler weather returning. Homosassa Springs is one of a very few places where you can see endangered West Indian manatees, Whooping cranes, Red wolves and Key deer. A Florida panther kitten named Yuma is a recent addition to the Park wildlife. The name “Yuma” comes from Native-American languages and means ”son of the chief.”
As a 1-week-old kitten, he was discovered barely alive on January 23 by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists checking on the den of a female panther in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Naples. The kitten had apparently been abandoned, was dehydrated and non-responsive.
He received emergency care at Animal Specialty Hospital in Naples and rehabilitative care at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. On April 3, Yuma arrived at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, his permanent home. In September he turns eight months old. Since he cannot return to the wild, he will serve as an ambassador for his species at the Park.
Other recent additions include a Shore Bird Aviary and the Homosassa River Walk and Manatee Observation Area. The Shore Bird Aviary allows park visitors to enjoy this greatly expanded habitat, which includes an interior walkway and observation area. This is great for nature study and photography. It has also allowed the Park to increase its shore bird population. Most of these birds have been permanently disabled, therefore would not be able to survive in the wild.
The Homosassa River Walk and Manatee Observation area was completed last year. We are grateful to the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park for their sponsorship of this project. This elevated boardwalk starts at the park entrance and surrounds the main spring to the Fish Bowl underwater observatory. The viewing area is glass-fronted with bleachers and space up front for visitors with disabilities to have an unobstructed view of the manatee programs.
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 elevated boardwalk system provides a great view of the wildlife, including our Florida panther, Florida Black bears, bobcats, deer, alligators and a wide variety of wading birds, birds of prey, and songbirds.
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-the-surface view of manatees and fish in the crystal clear spring environment. 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.
A Reptile House offers close-up viewing of native snakes and other reptiles. Our Children’s Education Center has a new Springs Time Line exhibit and features monthly displays and activities on monthly themes, allowing children to learn through hands-on activities.
The Wildside Café at the park’s West entrance offers indoor and outdoor dining.
Many events are on the fall schedule including our popular Haunted Tram Rides. Be sure to look at the complete listing of our Special Events for more information on this and other upcoming events.
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 Florida State Parks.
Our dedicated employees and friendly volunteers are waiting to welcome you!
- Kimberlee Tennille, Park Manager
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.
- For forms, information and benefits of volunteering visit Get Involved.
- Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park
- 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd.
Homosassa, FL 34446
- 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.