Some content on this website is saved in an alternative format. To view these files, download the following free software or you can skip to the main content if you already have the appropriate readers.

  • Use Adobe Acrobat to read Portable Document Format (PDF) files: Download Adobe® Reader®
  • Microsoft Word file viewer and converter programs to enable those who do not have MS- Word or have another version of MS-Word to open and view MS-Word files: Download Word file Viewer
  • Microsoft offers Microsoft Excel file viewer and converter programs to enable those who do not have MS-Excel or have another version of MS-Excel to view MS-Excel files:Download Excel file viewer

Welcome to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State park has been a tourist attraction since the early 1900s, when trains stopped to let passengers off to walk the short trail to the first-magnitude spring. The tracks ran alongside what is now Fishbowl Drive. While passengers enjoyed a view of Homosassa Spring and its myriad of fresh and saltwater fish, the train's crew were busy loading their freight of fish, crabs, cedar and spring water aboard the Mullet Train.

The 50-acre site and surrounding 100 acres was purchased in the 1940s and was operated as a small attraction. In 1964, the Norris Development Company bought the property and expanded it as Homosassa Springs "Nature's Own Attraction," with an emphasis on entertainment and with a variety of exotic animals and some native species. Ivan Tors Animal Actors housed their trained animals at Homosassa Springs Attraction for several years. These animals were trained for television shows and movies. When they were not performing they were kept at Homosassa Springs.  One of the most popular of these animals was Buck who was a stand-in for Gentle Ben in the famous television series. Lu, a hippopotamus, was one of the Ivan Tors animals and still resides at the park after being declared an honorary citizen of the State of Florida by then Governor Lawton Chiles. Norris owned the attraction until 1978.

From 1978 until 1984, the land went through several changes in ownership. The Citrus County Commission purchased the attraction to protect it as an environmentally sensitive area until the State of Florida could purchase the property as a Florida State Park. Modern thinking about captive wildlife has influenced how the park is now managed. Both visitor safety and animal welfare are of utmost importance at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.