Manatees are pretty large to begin with, so it takes a pretty extraordinary effort to create one several times larger than your run-of-the-mill manatee.
Back in 2002, that's what artist Rachel Peter of Wildlife Interiors did, with help from Bill McRoberts and Mark Hamill. Their bodacious 30-foot manatee quickly became a landmark of sorts; first at the Bella Oasis Resort and then so often around the resort property it should have had a tracking device.
In any event, Bubbles (the manatee’s name) has a new, permanent, and appropriate home: on Highway 19 at the entrance of the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, which is well known for its manatee rehabilitation program.
I think it’s great that the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park purchased Bubbles for the park, and then staff jumped in by giving Bubbles a manatee makeover starting with a fresh coat of paint.
FYI: Park manager Art Yerian thinks this is the largest manatee they’ve ever rescued.
You’ll find Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park where you’ll find Bubbles: 4150 S. Suncoast Boulevard, Homosassa. For more information on the park and their active calendar of events, call (352) 628-5343.