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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Homosassa, Florida: July 21-25, 2018

A late evening view from Phil and Ruth's Homosassa House

We arrived in Homosassa on my mother's birthday. She would have been 85 today, and I wanted to be in Homosassa with my Uncle Phil (my mother's older brother) and Aunt Ruth on my mother's birthday. Even though I hadn't mentioned it, Ruth had an ice cream birthday cake to remember my mother's birthday. She gave me a photo of my family from 1970 that they had snapped while visiting us. It was a sweet, touching evening and the perfect place for remembering.

Franklin and Carolyn Clark Family March 1970
Phil and Ruth took us out in their boat for a tour of some of the waterways followed by lunch in old Homosassa. It's pretty cool to be able to boat to lunch. They also showed us how to play a game of dominos called "Chicken Leg" or "Mexican Train." After several nights of losing, I've come to the conclusion that we were playing with domino sharks.

One evening ritual at Phil and Ruth's house is Molly's evening walk. Despite failing eyesight, Molly managed to locate and enjoy the puddles left by the almost daily rain storms.


One day, Dan and I went to the nearby Ellie Schiller Homosassa Wildlife Park. Prior to evolving into a state park, animal actors were housed here when they weren't being filmed for TV or movies. Gentle Ben's stand-in bear (named Buck) lived here when he wasn't working, and some of the animals used in the TV series "Daktari" (1966-1969) lived here as well. Sometime after 1984, the center was purchased by Florida State Parks and the primary goal became wildlife rehabilitation.

The Homosassa Wildlife Center is a great place to see and be next to birds. Some birds are permanently injured and remain permanent guests. Wild birds drop in because the habitat is so welcoming. In addition to birds, there are Florida bears, Florida panthers, alligators, key deer, manatees, and one hippo.

When the center became a state park, the mandate was that only local animals could be housed in it. They tried to find a home for the hippo but no takers. The then governor of Florida signed a proclamation making Lu the Hippo an honorary citizen of Florida. Lu is 58 years old. The top age for hippos living in captivity is 60.

We watched park volunteers clean Lu's space. They said that Lu, like many of us seniors, has joint issues. Daily, about 60 anti-inflammatory pills are secreted in watermelons that are then tossed into Lu's mouth. The day we were there, the volunteers said the watermelons were gone but the pills were scattered around his patio space. 

The center has three manatees that due to injuries will never be returned to the wild. We arrived just as they were enjoying their spa treatments while being hand fed romaine-lettuce bonbons.

There is an underwater observatory from which to watch the three manatees.

 Egret and White Ibis

Roseate Spoonbill

Wood Stork and Caracara (endangered)

Snowy Egret and Great Blue Heron

 Whooping Crane (endangered)

Black-capped Night-Heron
Juvenile Black-capped Night-Heron (I think) on left and adult on right

 White Pelicans

 Bald Eagles
 Great Blue Heron-a visitor

 Flamingos and a drop-in lunch guest (vulture)

 Red Fox under painting of a red fox

 Park Guests - Locust Romalea Microptera mating

We enjoyed this park so much that we visited it twice.