- The 2,600-acre site supports an abundance of wildlife due to the subtropical hardwood forest and the huge Blue Springs Run where 55 thousand gallons of water per minute flow 2,200 feet to the river.
There are plenty of opportunities for viewing wildlife at Blue Springs. One in particular is the lengthy handicapped accessible boardwalk paralleling Blue Spring Run. At the western end of the boardwalk is a large ADA fishing pier. From the boardwalk, you can see the bubbling cavernous spring where scuba divers venture into the dark turquoise depths. This is the perfect location for viewing the graceful manatee. Even though the park indicates there is no swimming with the manatees, scuba divers frequently share the same waters. Our visit rewarded us with sights of 13 endangered manatees peacefully enjoying the tepid waters. They come so close to the boardwalk that you can see their scared heads and bodies from where motorboats blazed their flesh. We shared our visit with many visitors, but I have to believe that this pristine environment affords sights of alligators, river otters and a variety of wading birds during the quiet morning or evening hours. The park opens at 8 A.M. and closes at sunset. However, if camping, you can always venture to the boardwalk when day use hours are not in effect. Sometimes feeding at waters' edge, you'll see limpkins, white ibises, crowned-herons and if you visit in winter or spring, be sure to gaze overhead for bald eagles. The rare Florida scrub jay is known to live at the park as well. To highlight your wildlife expedition, enjoy the manatee slide program or a ranger-guided boat tour that follows a 2.5-hour route that travels from the mouth of Blue Springs Run and through a canal that leads to Dead River. At Dead River, the tour boat picks up more tourists as it passes Hontoon Island State Park then circles back to Blue Spring Run. The trip includes a restaurant stop. Reservations can be made by calling the park office.
Historians will find it interesting to learn that the three-story Thursby House is located at the park. Before settling at Blue Springs, Louis Thursday abandoned New York to become a soldier in the Mexican War. After the war, he became one of the first successful citrus fruit growers and tradesman from Central Florida.
Directions: Take exit 114 off Interstate 4 and follow the signs. Go south on 17/92 to Orange City, about 2.5 miles. Make a right onto West French Avenue.
Ask a local about Blue Spring Wildlife Observation SiteLocals have answered 68 questions about Orlando.
Ask Orlando Locals about Blue Spring Wildlife Observation Site