“Hello Mr. Manatee – It’s me. Maggie!”
That’s exactly how my four-year old daughter chose to greet the manatees at the Ellie Schiller Homasassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
As we peered off the dock, we could easily spot five large seacows taking advantage of the warm springs water. With 72-degree water temperatures year-round, this safe haven is a popular spot for wild manatees in the winter months with more than 100 calling this area home.
Manatees aren’t the only wildlife that call this part home. Visitors can see key deer, flamingos, bald eagles, black bears, bobcats and even a hippo!
Lu the hippo, an honorary citizen of Florida, celebrated his 53rd birthday in January 2013 and let me tell you, he’s quite a site to see!
The entire park is accessible via a wooden boardwalk and as a mom pushing a stroller, this made our visit even more enjoyable.
With educational demonstrations throughout the day and park rangers available to answer questions, the Homasassa Springs Wildlife Park is a fantastic way to expose children to nature and allow them to experience a true, authentic Florida.
Located about an hour north of Tampa, visit http://www.floridastateparks.org/homosassasprings/ to plan your adventure.
Be sure and tell the manatees hello!