There were 8-10 large gators in the pool area---
There are several ways to reach the main entrance in the park, we chose the pontoon boat ride.
During the ride we observed wood duck, heron, gators, turtles and various other birds.
Check out the osprey nest high in this tree,
there's even a chick or two in the nest
Before this became a State Park it was a refuge and holding area/exhibit for many wildlife movie and tv stars.
Once the park was controlled by the State Parks Dept. all of the non-Florida native animals were relocated to other zoos or sanctuaries, with one exception....Lou, the hippo!!
Seems no place wanted a huge hungry, out of work, African hippo weighing some 5000+ lbs. Lou was a favorite of many in the area and a "Keep Lou Here" campaign began. Lou is now an official Floridian with paper work an inch thick to prove it, he probably could even vote!!
If you ever have a chance to visit Lou--beware if he swims off to a corner of the pool and his tail starts spinning, stand clear cuz he's going to blow...... and hippo poo, well, let's just say it's not pretty!!
Don't worry we were in the safe zone and I knew about that tail spinning warning sign.
Let's get to back to the tour...
There were falcons, eagles and all sorts of birds of prey
I love the expression on this guy
yep, even this cute little squirrel
During the cooler winter days in Florida you would see dozens of the endangered Florida manatee in this area seeking the warmth of the 72 degree warmth of the spring head waters.
an underwater observation area where you will see hundreds of fish and even the manatees up close!!
the Florida Panther
What's for dinner?? fresh fish for this river otter
This was one of the 8 captive manatee in the park at the present time.
They are recovering from injury or illness. Such gentle giants cruising thru the water.
Mom and I spent 3-4 hours at this park. In fact, I made my mom go
thru it twice so I could take more pictures.
This shot has to be one of my favorites....
Momma and pappa swan and their 5 little ones, still in their fuzz.
I took a couple hundred photos and could bore you to tears. I just wanted to give you a taste of Florida Wildlife and encourage you to visit this park if you ever visit Florida.
Remember there's more to Florida than just a mouse!!
Okay, back to you Gracie....
Mom,MoM, MOM, we thought you were NEVER coming back!!!
Have a great day.