Monkey tightrope.

Monkey Island

Field review by the editors.

Homosassa, Florida

Five spider monkeys are the current inhabitants of Monkey Island, a tiny chunk of land sitting in the Homosassa River. Customers dining at the Homosassa Riverside Resort or hanging out at the Monkey Bar enjoy ringside seats to sometimes wild offshore antics. Monkeys climb on platforms, swing from ropes, and clamber around the base of a small replica lighthouse.

The surrounding water discourages the monkeys from leaving, and a ring of floats and barriers discourages boaters from landing on the island or approaching the animals. Numerous signs warn that trespassing or feeding the monkeys is illegal, and that the island is under 24 hour video surveillance.

Monkey Island.

In the 1960s, Monkey Island was just a jumble of rocks in the river that submerged during high tide, a hazard to small boats. Dirt was dredged onto the rocks, and the resulting visible lump was made more picturesque with some plant life, trees and the lighthouse.

The monkeys were added later, moved from a nearby wildlife attraction, and have remained a popular draw to the area (which is otherwise focused on manatee tours). They are fed twice daily, and have free run of the island.

In addition to the restaurant vantage point, visitors can walk down to a short adjacent dock to observe Monkey Island. Next to the Homosassa Resort there's a goofy painted cutout where tourists can pose as members of a line of simians "Caught Monkey'n Around."

Monkey Island

Address:
5297 Cherokee Way, Homosassa, FL
Directions:
Hwy 44 west through Inverness (toward Crystal River) until you reach Hwy 490 (Homosassa Trail). Turn left and continue on Hwy 490 to US Hwy 19 (Suncoast Blvd). Left at signal (south) and go 1 block to Halls River Rd. Turn right (west) on Halls River Rd to the first road. Turn left on Fish Bowl Drive. Continue past the entrance of Wildlife Park, crossing a small bridge, the road becomes Yulee Drive, curving right past the Elementary School. At the 4-way stop, turn right into the resort.
Phone:
352-628-2474
Admission:
Free.
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July 26, 2014

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