Blue Spring State Park

Sunday March 6th 2016

Today I had a quasi notion to go to the Central Florida Fair. It had been heavily advertised on the TV and Radio. I set out to find it.
The fair grounds are located to the west of downtown Orlando on state route 50. I found my way through the congested “resort corridor” on Interstate 4 to exit 75B. This exit is one of the routes to the Universal theme parks, but not the primary one. This is Kirkman road or route 435. In this area you have to know both designations or your sure to get lost. Street signs warn you what road is crossing at the next intersection, but you don’t get to know what route it is until you reach the intersection. It can be very confusing without a GPS. It seems as though street planners may be assuming everyone uses a GPS now.
After a few miles on route 435 I turned east on state route 50. I almost missed the fair grounds. It didn’t look anywhere near as impressive as the ads would have you believe. My quasi notion went away fast. I’ll just have to see a pig race somewhere else. I continued to travel north looking for something better.
I ended my travels north at the Blue Spring State Park. This is “Florida’s premiere manatee refuge” according to the brochure. It was a great place to get my daily dose of wildlife. On the road in I saw an armadillo. Once I reached the shore of the St Johns river all of the wildlife was aquatic or avian.
The blue spring is one of the feeders for the St Johns river. Spring water in Florida is warmer than the surrounding waters, so manatees gather in the outflow to keep warm. From late December through February the springs and other sources of warm water drawn many manatees. The St Johns river water has started to warm up so there were only 6 manatees in the spring outflow today.

stjohnsriver

Looking down river to the north on the St Johns. The kayaks, canoes and pontoon boats are all looking for manatees. The buoy separated area in the foreground is the spring outflow.

manatee

Large manatee traveling out into the river.

manatees-and-cormorants

Several manatees on the far side of the spring outflow. Every few minutes they poke their noses out of the water to get a gulp of air.

fish

Some of the many fish visible in the clear water. These three seem to be close to 3 feet long.

I walked the boardwalk trail along the outflow area to the spring. Once the manatees leave, the area will be opened up for swimming, tubing and diving into the depths of the spring. The water is very clear you could make out many fish in the outflow area. The signs warned of alligators, but all I saw was a couple of sunning turtles. I don’t know if it was the “premiere manatee refuge”, but it was a fun park.

1 thought on “Blue Spring State Park

  1. Love the manatees. We watched one drinking the fresh water running off a deck at Bahia Honda State Park. We were waiting to board the boat to take us out on a snorkeling trip right there. BTW, if you do an over night to the Keys, this park has various increasing grades of prescription googles so you can rent a pair and really see the beauty of the coral reef and gorgeous fish.

    Like

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