Do you see it? In the feature photo? The manatee coming up for air? Seeing this wild manatee from the river overlook at Homasassa Springs Wildlife Nature Park was a bonus. They were outside the park, but the underwater gates are open this time of year so that the wild manatees can come in when the weather dictates. The park itself has undergone a few incarnations over the years before being taken over by the state. It once housed exotic animals, but now is a rehabilitation facility for native Florida species. All the permanent residents are not able to be returned to the wild for one reason or another. The vast majority of the park is open and many of the birds you see are wild and free to come and go as they wish. I have a confession though. Taking these pictures seems like cheating since the animals are captive. It’s not the thrill that it would have been if I had seen them in the wild and gotten these pictures. But they are beautiful, and this is a fun park to visit.
And here we have Lu, who is a holdover from the exotic animal days. He was a movie star in the past, but he is now going to celebrate his 60th birthday on January 24th. His real birthday is the 26th, but they always have a party for him with school children so they planned for a weekday.
And Frankie enjoyed a bit of a family reunion while she was there.