About

/About
About 2017-07-19T11:53:03+00:00

The Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park was established in 1991 to provide support to the Park and to help conserve and enhance the wildlife and other resources of the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park and to expand public interest in the heritage of the natural environment it represents. Our support areas include volunteerism, Park programs and financial support.

The Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park have become a repository for contributions from individuals, organizations and businesses. All the funds contributed to the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park remain at the Park and are expended under the authority of the Board of Directors who are all local citizens who love the Park.

The Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park have made significant financial contributions to Park improvements. Without them and all their supporters, we would not have the wonderful Park that exists today.

Your generous donation to the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park will be used to directly support the Park in its mission to provide quality resource-based recreation through visitor services, interpretive programs, and wildlife exhibits. These generous donations, volunteerism, and funds raised by the “Friends” special events have benefited the Park, its visitors and its wildlife inhabitants in allowing us to help fund Wildlife Habitats, Wildlife Walk, Wildlife Enrichment, Children’s Discovery Center, Community Outreach programs, Boardwalk Interpretation Exhibits, Children’s Summer Camp Program & Much More.

Join Friends Today!

By joining the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park you can take comfort in knowing that 100% of your Membership Fee stays right here at the Park. Member benefits include invitations to special dedications, annual picnic/meeting and the satisfaction of knowing you are making a positive contribution to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

As a Member you will also receive a Membership Card which will authorize you and a guest 12 visits to the Park ANY day of the week. This is a value of $312 for only $60. Becoming a Member is simple and easy. Just send us your name and email address and a check for $60 (made out to the FHSWP) along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and mail it to:

Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa FL 34446.

Upon receipt, we will, send you your card. The Membership card is not valid on day of purchase. Only one punch card authorized per member, per year.

Partners In Giving

A Special Donation Program. Your generous donation to Partners in Giving will be used to support the Park in its mission to provide quality resource-based recreation through visitor services, interpretive programs, and wild life exhibits. Listed below are several examples of how generous donations, such as yours, volunteerism, and funds raised by the “Friends” special events have benefited the Park, its visitors and its wildlife inhabitants.

Wildlife Habitats  |  Wildlife Walk  |  Wildlife Enrichment  |  Children ‘s Discovery Center  |  Community Outreach Programs  |  Boardwalk Interpretation Exhibits  |  Children’s Summer Camp Program

Donations of $500 and up are eligible for recognition on our Giving Tree. The Giving Tree, located in the Visitor Center provides a beautiful display of engraved leaves that recognize donors.

Donations of $500 – $999: Small Leaf
Donation of $1,000 and up: Large Leaf

Contact the Park at 352-628-5343 for additional information.

Please Donate Today!

About The Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

24Visitors can see West Indian manatees every day of the year from the park’s underwater observatory in the main spring. The park showcases native Florida wildlife, including manatees, black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters.

Manatee programs are offered three times daily. At the Wildlife Encounter programs, snakes and other native animals are featured. Recreational opportunities include picnicking, nature study, and bird-watching. The park features a children’s education center, providing hands-on experiences about Florida’s environment.

Transportation from the visitor center on U.S. 19 to the West Entrance is available by tram or boat. The park has two concessionaire-operated gift shops and a concessionaire-operated café with a selection of beverages and snacks. Plan 3 1/2 to 4 hours to tour the park. Check the Ranger Programs for a list of interactive events throughout the park each day.

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 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.

The Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1991 to support the goals of Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.