Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Day at Homosassa Springs

Today, Tuesday, we visited the Homosassa Springs Attraction. Again the weather was beautiful and the attraction was not too crowded. Our California cousins were introduced to that California star of the silver screen, Lucifer, the 49 year old Hippo who has resided here for many years.
A fixture at Homosassa Springs since 1964, Lu was a movie and television star with the Ivan Tors Animal Actors troupe, which wintered at the park when it was in private ownership. Some of his credits include the movies Daktari and Cowboy in Africa, and television specials such as Art Linkletter Show and Herb Alpert Special. Lu also starred in a Union Carbide commercial.

Lucifer is one of the big draws to the attraction, but the real stars are the Florida Manatees who reside here year round in captivity. The winter finds several hundred manatees in the Homosassa River, gathering at the springs where the water is a minimum of 72 degrees. They cannot survive if the water goes below 68, and the Gulf goes to 54 or less in the dead of winter. As the gulf cools, the manatees gather in the springs along the coast and particularly in Homosassa and Crystal River. They are also drawn to the warm water exhaust from the many electric plants along the coast.

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