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.
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."