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The Best Animal Sanctuaries in Florida

Closeup of bald eagle.

Florida wetlands teem with native flora and fauna, some of which are regular sights at Lakeshore. Even if our Florida community is a thriving hub for wildlife, there are other exhilarating reserves and forests to explore. Here are some of the best animal sanctuaries and parks to explore and watch central Florida wildlife.

Withlacoochee State Forest

This Floridian park includes 13 miles of the meandering Withlacoochee River. This state forest is the perfect place to venture outdoors and feast upon some spectacular views. The lush foliage is comprised of seven tracts. Most of them feature tree species like the southern magnolia, oak, gum, maple, bald cypress, and even more. It’s no wonder Withlacoochee State Forest is considered the third largest state forest within Florida!

Some of the wildlife you’ll spot along the trails include bald eagles, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey. Some notable spots include the Citrus Wildlife Management Area and the Cypress Lake Preserve, among others.

Chase Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservancy

The primate pet and breeding trade is exploitative and does not hold the animals’ best interests at heart. Chase Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservancy earnestly hopes to educate visitors about this ugly reality, in addition to raising public awareness of the rapidly accelerating number of endangered primates.

On a lighter note, some of the amazing animals you will find here include lemurs, parrots, sloths, deer, and more. If you’re looking for a truly unique wildlife experience, you’ll certainly enjoy yoga with the lemurs and painting beside the primates.

Ocala National Forest

In the Ocala National Forest, you’ll be swimming beside the fishes – literally! The springs located within the forest stay at an inviting 72 – 74 degrees year-round, and you’ll be able to enjoy swimming beside native fish species that find their natural abode in the springs. We highly recommend taking a day trip to this amazing spot, as it is one of our favorite animal sanctuaries in Florida. Salt Springs is the perfect place for a refreshing dip under the crystal-clear waters and a light picnic.

Take heed to follow all the designated visitor rules and guidelines at every distinct park. If you’re looking forward to hiking on trails or indulging the great outdoors, bring water to keep well-hydrated, wear proper hiking shoes, and protect yourself with repellants to ward off mosquitoes and ticks.


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