Friday, October 26, 2012

Winding down....

Our time in Cedar Key is winding down....soon we will be on our way "north" (The Carolinas)!  But only for 2 months and then it's back to Florida!

Last weekend we headed to the Seafood Festival in Cedar Key.  We went with some friends from the park...Ken, Vel, and Maggie.  The mission of the day was quite get seafood!  But first we had a parade to watch.

Yep - this is the police "car" for Cedar Key.  Gotta love small towns!

Very cool float complete with Ariel
Island Pizzeria "float".  The 2nd best pizza we've ever had...(first is Dan's Mom's!!)

Anyone and any vehicle can enter a small town parade!

Cute dog float!

The guy in the mask must have been oh so hot!  Temps were in the mid-80s! 
There were so many booths with arts and craft vendors and local civic organizations selling food.  Between the five of us, we tried fried shrimp, fried oysters, french fries, low country boil, cheeseburgers :-), and clam chowder.  Tony's in Cedar Key is the 3x world champion for his clam chowder.  At $7 a bowl, it was pricey but oh was so worth it!  We had a great day at the Seafood Festival.

Back when we were at Three Rivers State Park, the camp host had asked if we visited Florida State Parks regularly.  I said yes and she gave me a coupon that was for free entry into any state park for up to 6 people or free entry into Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park for 2 people.  I had been holding on to that coupon for a few months and, as it expired the end of December, needed to use it before we left Florida.  We took a day trip with Vel and Maggie earlier this week to check it out.

Homosassa Springs Wlidlife State Park is a rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned manatees until they can be returned to the wild.  There are also other animals there that, for some reason or another, can not be returned to the wild.  Our first stop was to listen to one of the park attendants speak about manatees.

We watched the manatees for quite some time and even got to see them get fed!
This gal was waiting patiently for her food!

Not what I would like but I am sure they enjoyed it!
We finally left to go explore the rest of the park.

Beautiful butterflies were everywhere

Patience paid off

There were so many swans.
There was also a hippo there named Lu (short for Lucifer).
He was sleeping when we first walked up but then he opened his eyes to peak at us.  This sign was posted nearby....

Thank goodness there was no splatter!

They had quite a few alligators...most were sunning themselves but there was one that was raising such a ruckus!  He was slinking in and out of the water...not sure what the commotion was for!
Lazing away in the sun...

Would swimming really be an option?

Check out his teeth!
After the alligators, we came to the river otter exhibit.  Oh what fun it was to watch these guys swim so elegantly and swiftly.  They liked having an audience to show off for!

We all agreed that if we could be any animal at the park, it would either be a river otter or a manatee!
Definitely not a hippo or alligator! ;-)

There were so many birds at Homosassa Springs!  We had a great time looking at them all.  And, as a bonus, I got  to see the Roseate Spoonbill up close.  We had seen these in Cedar Key but only at a distance.

Sandhill Crane

Roseate Spoonbills

White Pelicans

Can't remember this guys name

Bald Eagle

Couldn't resist one last photo of the Roseate Spoonbill
It was a great day and we would definitely recommend a visit to Homosassa Springs Animal Park if you are ever in the area!


Brandon and Amanda said...

Awesome pics! Sounds like a fun time. Glad you guys did not get "splattered". That would be pretty unfortunate!

Karen and Al said...

Thats a Crested Caracara and I never saw one at Homosassa Springs before. You were lucky. Nice pictures!

Neil and Nancy said...

Loved your post...the best pictures! Was that New England or Manhattan clam chowder? We love chowder! See you soon...stay safe and safe travels.

Al and Karen said...

That is the wildlife park that Al and I volunteer at in the winter. He's a boat driver and I work the panther interpretive cart. We really enjoy it. The aviary is brand new this year and I hear its awesome. Sadly, one of my panthers passed away in August, but I still have Maygar to talk to folks about!

Gail Houle said...

That park sounds wonderful! Loved the "splatter " sign :)
I'm all for the seafood too!

See you Tuesday!

Dave and Maxine- Wandering Wingers said...

What a great park! I would love to see the Manatees. As you head north please be careful of the big storm heading to the Carolinas.

Nancy and Bill said...

What a fabulous day at Homosassa Springs...need to check that place out!!! Just about done here and leave tomorrow for Walkabout... See you guys at Huntington. Maybe we can see your new pad this winter!!

Gin and Syl said...

Homosassa looks like a great place to spend the day. Clam chowder is on my list for our return visit. You're right about the pizza being second only to Dan's Mom. See ya soon at HB!
Syl and Gin

Sherry said...

Wow those are great animal pics. Otters are not usually so interested in performing or at least not in the wild. I would love to have seen them. They are real favorites of mine. I like their attitudes! :-))

Are all those animals injured and unable to live in the wild? Or just the manatee?? I always avoid zoos so that's why I've never been to Homossasa. I hate to think of the otters being unable to be free.

Elaine said...

I would have loved to seen the Cedar Key parade - it had the most interesting and/or hysterical vehicles I've ever seen. And, WOW is all I can say about all of the animals & birds that you got to see at Homosassa Springs.

Please be careful while travelling this week because Sandy looks pretty monstrous & will affect just about every state up & down the East Coast. XOXO to both you & Dan!

Catherine, Jo Beth and Grace said...

We love Homosassa springs. Glad to see Lu is doing well.

Cathy said...

Looks like one of your last visits in Florida for the time being was a good one. Looking forward to seeing you guys next weekend!

Ceal said...

That parade was better than the old Wheeling parade.
I'm hungry after hearing about all the good seafood.
The animals & birds were quite a treat. The Manatees are so ugly they are adorable & I love to watch river otters. We have them at the Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores.
Have a great time in S.C. & see you soon.
Love to you both.