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Florida 2005 / GoodeG Home / Trip Index

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DeLeon Springs State Park is a popular swimming and recreation area. There is a unique restaurant housed in the old mill building where visitors can cook their own breakfast. A very nice butterfly garden has been added to the landscape. Even though it was cold and windy today, there were butterflies in the garden. Tuesday, March 1.



Rodman Dam in the Ocala National Forest was our next destination, although we had planned to go to Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka to view the massive display of azaleas. The dam has done extensive ecological damage to the waterways upstream, but it does offer great fishing for humans and birds. There is no better place to watch ospreys and cormorants in action. Also, many gulls, vultures, crows, and swallows.

Val rescued a cormorant that she found completely tangled and trapped in monofilament fishing line. She held the beak to control the bird and gradually cut the line into small pieces, using a small knife she had in her bag. The line was wound all around the bird's wings, neck, and body. Eventually the bird was free and Val saw the bird get up on a rock to dry itself.



Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park contains native Florida animals which had been injured and could not be returned to the wild. The one exception is Lucifer, a 43-year old hippo that was left from when the park was a private attraction. When it was turned into a state park, the local residents lobbied aginst getting rid of the hippo. The governor made Lucifer an honorary citizen of Florida so he could remain in the park for the rest of his life.

The main attraction is the manatee herd of 9 in the spring area. Through an underwater observation deck, visitors could watch the manatees and many varieties of fish in the clear water. Educational programs are held throughout the day in the 210 acre park. The park provides an opportunity to see Florida wildlife in a natural stting along 1.1 miles of paved trails and boardwalks. The two-headed turtle is located in the visitor center which is reached by pontoon boat on Pepper Creek or by tram. Wednesday, March 2.



Fort Island at Crystal River has a nice beach for bird watching and picnicking.


pollution pipes

Rainbow Springs State Park used to be a private attraction with waterfalls, gardens, captive animals, and a gorgeous large spring that forms the Rainbow River. Now there are only squirrels and armadillos, but the gardens are still beautiful and the waterfalls are covered with ferns and mosses.



Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa. Thursday, March 3. Entrance fee for 2 - $28.90. Temperature in the morning was just over 40 degrees and heavy clouds. The rain held off until about 1 pm, but we spent much time later in the day in the manatee aquarium watching the manatees and fish. The giraffes and zebras are part of a new "Safari Africa" exhibit, advertising a "new exhibit each year until 2008!" We will be back.




giraffe in Safari Africa

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Florida 2005 / GoodeG Home / Trip Index