Florida is full of surprises and if there's one thing I've learned from living here for the past half-decade is that just when you think you have seen it all, there's something else that takes the cake. One of these local "Easter eggs" as I like to call them is the nation's oldest living hippo at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park.
At a ripe 62-years-old, Lu, as he is so lovingly named, is enjoying his golden record-holding years at one of the state's most gorgeous crystal-clear waterways!
He has called the park "home" since the 1960s and has appeared in several movies including Cowboy in Africa and Daktari throughout the years. Yes, he's a movie star!
What is perhaps most interesting is that while the park is full of critters to gawk at Lu is easily one of the most popular attractions--and like any good celeb would, he has his own Facebook page.
As cute as he may look, according to National Geographic behind humans, hippos are the most deadly mammal--even surpassing lions! Thankfully, visitors are totally safe as Lu is in his own enclosure and doesn't have free roam of the river or park.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park is only $13 to enter (or free with a Florida State Park pass) and it's one of my favorite day-time activities in the area, not to mention it's so close to a lot of other great locations including Three Sisters Spring.
There is over a mile of paved walkways that take visitors through an educational adventure featuring native animals being cared for in the park such as manatees, alligators, bobcats, bears, panthers, deer and birds of prey. It's so easy to spend an entire day at this family-friendly wildlife park and you can feel good knowing that money spent here goes to a good cause.
"All the park’s resident animals are unable to survive in the wild on their own and now serve as species ambassadors for education and conservation," as stated on the park's official website.
What's more, Lu isn't the only unusual animal you can find residing at the Florida springs. Also in Homosassa is the infamous "Monkey Island" (I highly recommend checking this out when you're in the area), and closer to Orlando you will find the wild monkeys of Silver Springs.
What is your favorite animal at the park? Tell me about it in the comments below!