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today we went to Homosassa (Indian for place of pepper trees) State Wildlife park. we started with a little boat ride down the stream to the park then wandered around the park, which i guess is like a zoo in that some of the animals are in cages etc but some are also free to come and go (mostly the birds and fish) but all the animals are Florida natives, except the Nile Hippo but he has been made an honorary Floridian so that’s ok !

the major draw card here are the manatee’s, massive flattened out dolphins with a platypus/beaver tail with a seal like snout, kinda like our dugong’s but bigger, fatter and longer- um so yeah kinda not like them at all !!!!! well they are part of the same family we think. they are really cool and the park helps save and look after injured ones then sets them free again. they also have 4 that stay at the park permanently. the park has a natural spring which regulates the water at about 72 deg F so the wild ones go to the gulf in summer and the park waters in winter as they don’t like water below about 65 deg F otherwise they get a cold – hehe how cute.

the park also has pink flamingo’s – squeeeee, and quite a few other cool birds BUT they also have gators !!!!! so we can say that we have seen real American gators, not so wild but then i’m not so sure i’m that keen on seeing a wild one, we spent a far time in the NT and didnt see too many croc’s and no too close and personal so i’d be happy to keep it that way here too !!!

after wondering the park for quite some time it was time to drag me and the rapidly filling camera cards out and back to the car so that we could keep moving south through Tampa and over the sea Skyway bridge that links Tampa Bay and St Petersburg

(sorry about the dodgy bridge pics, they are off the ipod, tashs camera had gone flat, mine was tucked away after the park)

its about 6.5km long and about 130m high so a pretty cool bridge, apparently rated in the top 10 bridges of the world. we kept going south to Fort Meyers and to Pine Island, so Suzie is now officially an islander as well :-). its funny how some of the parks operate their after hours, some have sites already marked out which is kinda easier as you dont have drive around figure out which ones are empty and which one you like and is level and near the facilities blah blah blah, but then they also tend to put them all the way at the back away from the facilities and near the longer termers/perms which must be really super annoying for them.

mileage: 213 miles (343km)

steps: 6501 (4.74km)


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