Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is focusing on the park's and the area's history during the month of March. The park is introducing monthly themes featuring natural and cultural resource opportunities in Florida State Parks.
Two events are planned to interpret the history of the park and archaeology of the Nature Coast. March is Archaeology Month.
On Saturday, the park will hold its annual Homosassa Heritage Day event from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Florida Room of the Visitor Center. The public is invited to learn about the history of the park and its early days as an attraction and to share their stories and memories. There is no charge to attend Homosassa Heritage day exhibits and programs. (Regular admission is required for entrance into the park.)
Historic photos will be displayed, and exhibitors will include Citrus County Libraries, Citrus County Historical Society, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Homosassa River Garden Club, Homosassa River Alliance, and an exhibit on pioneer woman Dessie Smith Prescott. Guest speakers will include Park Services Specialist J.D. Mendenhall, who will do a presentation on Ivan Tors and his contributions to advances in animal training methods; Retired Rangers Jack Kearns and Patrick Dillard will share stories of the attraction's early days; and Candace Boothe, Margaret Harris, and Gus Valderrama will reenact a conversation between Dessie Smith Prescott, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Ernest Hemingway.
In addition to these programs, visitors will find ongoing exhibits on the Park's history in the Visitor Center on U.S. 19 and also in the Park's West Entrance on Fish Bowl Drive.
The Children's Education Center has reopened after the first phase of restoration was completed on this historic building. The building was the original entrance to Nature's Giant Fish Bowl and was built in the 1940s. The roof was replaced and brick work was added to the lower half of the interior walls to protect the building from water damage. The remaining interior walls were repainted.
As you can see, we have a lot planned for March and encourage you to visit Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to learn about our park's history and the archaeology and pottery of the Nature Coast.
Susan Strawbridge is the park services specialist at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Email her at Susan.Strawbridge@dep.state.fl.us.