A great wildlife park to visit is Homosassa Springs State Park. It is on Hwy. 19 between Weeki Wachee and Crystal River. This was once one of the many spring attraction theme parks in Florida. The attraction closed down and was sold to the state several years back. So now it is a wildlife park and education center.
And one of my favorite oddities in the education center is this costume used to feed baby whooping crane chicks. So they don't get imprinted to people and can be re-released back into the wild.
But I really enjoy walking around seeing the native birds. Some of these birds have been injured, and have retired here. Like Sam the bald eagle.
Or this crested cara-cara (is that how you spell it?) that you only see in a few areas around south Florida, like Lake Okeechobee.
These sandhill cranes were tooting up a storm.
Or this cage with a Florida panther. As I found out last week, they seem a lot different in the wild than in a zoo.
Homosassa Springs is a first magnitude spring with clear, fresh water. It is good they have the spring run fenced off from the spring, otherwise the idiots I saw out in the boats would not give the manatees any peace at all. For most people, they are lucky to see even this much of a manatee:
But I lucked out. It was feeding time for the manatees, and as I went to the underwater observation deck, Rosie the Manatee was ready to put on a show.
As I went down the stairs of the observation deck, Rosie was putting on a show, with rolls and underwater acrobatic turns.
Rosie is larger than your average 1,000 lbs. manatee, and weights about 3,600 lbs.
She has lived a long life, but it has been a difficult one, as is for most all manatees, as we see from her scars.
But she has survived, and seems playful as ever.
So it made me wonder what it was like to be a manatee.