Sunday, June 27, 2010
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park - Homosassa Springs, Florida
Located 60 miles north of Tampa and 90 miles northwest of Orlando on U.S. Highway 19, the spring has been a tourist attraction for so long that it holds a unique place in Florida history as a result. Beginning in around 1900, trains ran along what is now Fish Bowl Drive, a street that passes through the park. The trains would stop at Homosassa Springs to let passengers rest by the spring. Slowly it developed into a popular attraction.
In the 1930s it was home to a hunting lodge owned by baseball legend Dazzy Vance. In the 1960s a company that trained animals for use in Hollywood movies and television shows located there. Visitors could even meet Buck the Bear, who doubled for "Gentle Ben" in the popular tv show of that name.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is also home to Lu the Hippo. He holds the distinction of being the only hippopotamus who has been declared an official resident of the State of Florida. To learn his story and more, please visit www.exploresouthernhsitory.com./homosassa.