Day trip to see the manatees and zoo at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

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. 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.
Park info: http://www.floridastateparks.org/homosassasprings/

Departure Date & Time: 1/22/2014 8:30am, will wait 15 minutes for late RSVP's
Drive time: About 3 hours each way
Departure location: Panera Bread Parking lot, 4403 Roosevelt Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32210
Cost: $13/adult or $9.10 each for group of 10 w/ 2 weeks prior reservation
Time at park: about 4 hours
Estimated Return time: 7pm
Weather: This trip will be rescheduled if rain is predicted at the destination.
Food: Bring lunch or eat at park concessions, we can also make a fast food stop on the return trip if majority wants to stop.

I can take 4 other people in my van and will have a MEETUP sign on the my van as well as holding a blue and white umbrella.

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  • Cindy J.

    Splendid day trip with beautiful scenery on the ride there. There are so few Manatees left in the wild today it was a joy to see so many of them. We must be better stewards of our wildlife. Thanks to everyone and lets get together soon.

    January 23, 2014

  • Dr. Vijay S.

    Enjoyed the Homosassa Springs and associated eco-system, the meal and travelling companions.

    January 23, 2014

  • Maureen

    First time at the State Park and I had a wonderful time. Thanks again Mike for hosting this event.

    January 23, 2014

    • Mike

      Thanks. I enjoyed it as well. It was a cold, sunny day but that's why we saw so many manatees.

      January 23, 2014

  • Debbie B.

    Great Park, loved seeing the Manatees! Thanks Mike for planning this!

    January 22, 2014

  • Cindy J.

    Yes Mike I would love that. Where at Jax Beach shall we meet?

    January 20, 2014

    • Mike

      Cindy, I sent you an email with my contact info.

      January 20, 2014

  • Cindy J.

    I would like to join everyone on this trip but it seems that nobody is leaving from St.A or anywhere close by. So I am very sorry I will have to decline this time. Have a wonderful day.

    January 20, 2014

    • Mike

      Cindy, I'm at jax beach and plan on heading to the meetup location around 7:30 (to eat a quick breakfast at the panera). Do you want to try to make it to my place by 7:30am in Jax Beach?

      January 20, 2014

  • Maureen

    FYI...It is going to be I the low 50's so dress accordingly.

    January 20, 2014

  • Catherine D.

    I am not going to be able to attend. A few things have cropped up and unfortunately they fall on the same day. Changed my RSVP. Wi

    January 19, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have always wanted to see the manatees but I'm not going to be able to attend this time. Have changed my RSVP.

    January 17, 2014

  • Cindy J.

    Is anyone leaving from St Augustine that I can share a ride with? Look forward to meeting everyone.

    January 15, 2014

  • Sue

    Due to my work scheduled, I am not going to be able to make this trip after all. I hope everyone has a good time and sorry I can't make it.

    January 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    May I ride with you, Ann, if your van is not full?

    January 12, 2014

  • Linda S

    I live in Ocala, so I can meet you there. It is about an hour for me. Let me know if you want me to meet the group for entry. This is an awesome place. Can't wait to meet everyone.

    December 9, 2013

    • Linda S

      I bought an annual pass today.

      January 10, 2014

    • Mike

      Congrats. Looks like you're covered then for the entrance.

      January 11, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, I can't make it. I was going to drive. I am taking my Mom on a last minute cruise. Hope you guys have a nice time.

    January 11, 2014

  • colette w.

    I'm a new member and would love to go. Is there room for another passenger?

    December 15, 2013

    • Sharon K. H.

      Debbie, I still need a ride if your car is not full.

      December 22, 2013

    • Debbie B.

      Gotcha down Sharon!

      December 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey, I like to drive and I can take 3 more in my SUV.

    October 31, 2013

    • Sue

      I would like to ride with you if you still have room.

      November 16, 2013

    • Mike

      Susan, let's do cash the day of the event. I just need to make sure at least 10 people want to pay that way to get the group discount.

      December 9, 2013

  • Anne

    I think I'll be in the Homosassa area Jan. 22. If so, I would like to join you. On another trip I found that The Freezer in Homosassa is a great place to eat shrimp with a pitcher of local beer!

    1 · December 8, 2013

  • Sue

    This sounds like fun. Looking toward to it.

    November 15, 2013

  • Julia P.

    OMG!! I just looked at the calendar and see I will be in Md. from Jan 15-26 and I REALLY wanted to do this. Hope you can do it again soon. Thanks Mike for all your hard work.

    October 31, 2013

    • Mike

      We'll miss you, Julia.

      October 31, 2013

  • Susan P.

    I also signed up for this trip and will need a ride. Is there still room left in one of the cars?

    October 31, 2013

    • Mike

      Hi Susan, it seems like there should be.

      October 31, 2013

  • Dr. Vijay S.

    Where and how do I contribute my $9.10 early reservation contribution?

    October 31, 2013

    • Mike

      Hi Vijay, just bring $9 to the carpool meeting place. I'll cover the $.10. Thanks.

      October 31, 2013

  • Mike

    I think I was making the payment method too complicated.

    If each person just brings $9 each in cash to the park. I can collect and can pay them with that. It seems to be a big deal to them that only one person pay for the group. I will take one of the free tickets (for a group greater than 10) and pay the balance of the fee of $9.10 per person.
    The remaining free ticket can go to another carpool driver.

    Hope that sounds fair to everyone.

    October 31, 2013

    • Marilyn

      I think you should also get a free pass in

      October 31, 2013

    • Mike

      Anna, whatever combination works for you is fine. Thanks for checking. Mpete, I plan to get a free pass but pay the difference between the $9 and $9.10 fee so we don't have to mess with coins and change.

      October 31, 2013

  • Mike

    I can take 4 people.
    Hopefully, we'll get some more carpool driver volunteers.

    September 27, 2013

    • Julia P.

      Great Mike. Where will we be meeting??? thanks.

      October 31, 2013

    • Mike

      We will carpool from: Panera Bread Parking lot, 4403 Roosevelt Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32210 Please note info above in the meetup description. Thanks.

      October 31, 2013

  • Linda C.

    I wish I could go, but I have something else that whole week. :-(

    October 31, 2013

  • Mike

    Additional info:
    The State Park ranger said that on 1/22/2014 there is a school bus of about 150 kids that arrive at 10:30am and should be leaving around noon. We should be arriving a bit before noon.

    October 31, 2013

    • Dave B

      big sigh of relief!

      1 · October 31, 2013

  • Mike

    Update on the group rate:
    I called into the park for the group rate of $9.10.
    10 people or more in the group get a group rate.
    Any group over 12 people get 2 free tickets, which we can give to carpool drivers.
    The group rate must be paid by one person, which I can do with a credit card. However, please bring cash to reimburse me.
    Alternatively, we can each pay a $13 entrance fee if there are not enough people to pay me by cash.
    They have our reservation for the group.

    Feedback or suggestions on how to deal with the group payment are welcome.

    October 31, 2013

  • Mike

    Since it looks like there are 10 people attending. I'll check on how to get the group rates.

    September 28, 2013

  • Maureen

    Debbie, can I ride with you?

    September 27, 2013

    • Debbie B.

      Yes you can Maureen!

      September 27, 2013

    • Maureen

      Thanks. It will be good to see you

      September 28, 2013

  • Julia P.

    I'd like to be included in the van if you still have room. Thanks.

    September 27, 2013

    • Mike

      Hi Julia, if there's enough drivers and cars we can accommodate all those that don't want to drive.

      1 · September 27, 2013

  • Mike

    Thanks, Debbie.

    September 27, 2013

  • Debbie B.

    I can take 2 in our car

    September 27, 2013

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