The main focus of Homosassa Springs State Park, the wildlife park we visited Saturday, is manatees. It is a rehabilitation center for injured manatees and a place to educate the public about these gentle aquatic mammals.
There are two areas of the park dedicated to educating children about manatees.
Manatees, also known as Sea Cows, are most closely related to elephants. They are herbivores, who seem to really enjoy lettuce and carrots. Three times a day, a ranger in a wet suit gets into the water with the manatees and hand feeds them chunks of carrots.
There was an observation deck overlooking Crystal River, at the edge of the park, and right below where we stood on the deck, this wild manatee was laying in the shallow water.
What you can't see very well in the picture is the large cross of scar tissue on the manatee's back.
Manatees have no natural enemies, but they are often injured by motor boats. This manatee, which had so obviously been hurt in the past, was surrounded by another form of Florida "wildlife", the weekend boater.
If you are interested in adopting a manatee, here is a link: