View All Parks Director's Message

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

 Activities at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Boat Tours

Boat Tours

Included in your admission, weather permitting, is a boat tour that transports you from the Visitor Center to the West Entrance to the Wildlife Park along Pepper Creek. Rangers give an introduction to the park and the Florida Park Service. Wildlife is identified along the way.

Concession & Restaurant

Concession & Restaurant

The Wildside Café is located at the park's West Entrance offering indoor and outdoor dining areas. The hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To reach the Wildside Café, call (352) 503-6843.

 

Hiking/Nature Trail

Hiking/Nature Trail

A 1.10 mile trail winds throughout the Wildlife Park including paved trails and elevated boardwalk systems. Benches and rain shelters are conveniently located along the trail. Bleachers are located at the Manatee Program area and Wildlife Encounters. The park offers many opportunities to photograph the Real Florida and its wildlife. Commercial photographers should check in at the park office.

Pets

Pets

Pets are not allowed at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Park because of the captive wildlife. 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. Service animals are welcome where the public is normally allowed.

Picnicking

Picnicking

A picnic area is located in the Garden of the Springs.

Tours

Tours

Park rangers and volunteers present educational programs throughout the day, every day of the year.

Educational Program Schedule

  • Manatee Program - 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • Wildlife Encounters - 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Alligator and Hippopotamus - 12:30 p.m. 

Manatee Program
Manatee programs are offered three times a day at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. A Park Ranger or Wildlife Care Volunteer presents an informative program on the history of this endangered marine mammal and general information on the wild manatee population. They also explain the State Park's role as a rehabilitation facility for injured and orphaned manatees in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Presenters show the audience manatee bones and tracking equipment to make the program more interesting and fun. Visitors may see the State Park's resident manatees in the spring, from the Fish Bowl underwater observatory or in the in-ground pool. Wild manatees can often be seen visiting the Blue Waters area off the Garden of the Springs.

Wildlife Encounters
Wildlife Encounter programs are held twice daily at 10:30 a.m. and at 2:30 p.m. at the Wildlife Encounter Pavilion. A Park Ranger or Wildlife Care Volunteer introduces an example of a native Florida species, which may be a bird of prey, an opossum, a gopher tortoise or a non-venomous snake. They discuss the species' range, diet and role in the eco-system and answer questions from the audience. Visitors are encouraged to preserve and protect Florida's native wildlife and natural resources.

Alligator and Hippopotamus Program
The alligator and hippopotamus program is presented daily at 12:30 p.m. A Park Ranger or Wildlife Care Volunteer discusses the history of the American alligator and its range, diet and role in the eco-system. After the alligator presentation, the ranger or volunteer introduces the Park's African hippopotamus, explaining why a Florida State Park has an example of this exotic species, how he came to be here, his history in television and film and why a Florida Governor made him an Honorary Florida citizen.

Visitor Center

Visitor Center

Our Visitor Center and main entrance is located on U.S. Highway 19 and includes several interpretive opportunities for visitors to enjoy. Exhibits include U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Manatee Education Center and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Migratory Bird exhibit. A display on the history of Homosassa runs along the length of the inside wall of the Visitor Center. A diorama shows what the town of Homosassa looked like in the early 1900s and includes a working replica of the Mullet train with a recorded message. A life-size crocodile and alligator made from moulds greet visitors to the center.

The Park has two Gift Shops for visitor shopping. The State of Elegance, (352) 628-1002 extn. 1204,  is in the park's Visitor Center and offers unique gifts, clothing, books, etc. on a Florida nature theme. The Nest of Treasures, (352) 628-0884,  is located at the West Entrance and offers a variety of gifts and clothing for younger park visitors. The hours of operation are daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Weddings

Weddings

The park showcases Florida’s unique landscape surrounding the headspring of the Homosassa River - the perfect backdrop for your dream wedding.   Outdoor options for your ceremony and reception include a river pavilion and garden pavilion, or choose an indoor space at the Pepper Creek Terrace. We hosted formal garden party to a barefoot wedding and everything in between.  We look forward to helping your plan for your special day - contact Charlotte.Gable@dep.state.fl.us or (352) 628-5445 x 1010 for pricing and availability.

For photos and more information, download Your Dream Wedding at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park (PDF - 3.22KB)

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is an excellent site for birdwatching. The Pepper Creek Birding Trail runs from the Visitor Center parking area along the tram road and loops through the parking areas at Fish Bowl Drive and returns via a boat ride along Pepper Creek. This trail is one of 20 birding trails in Citrus County that are part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. A Gateway and Information kiosk for the trails is located in the Visitor Center.

Participation Requirements