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Monkey tightrope.

Monkey Island

Field review by the editors.

Homosassa, Florida

A family of spider monkeys are the only inhabitants of Monkey Island, a tiny chunk of land sitting in the Homosassa River. Customers dining at the Florida Cracker 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 lighthouse.

The surrounding water discourages the monkeys from leaving, and a ring of floats and barriers discourages boaters and kayakers 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. G.A. "Furgy" Furgason had sludge dredged onto the rocks -- so much sludge that it created an island, which eventually grew plant life. Furgy then had the lighthouse built for boater safety.

The monkeys were an afterthought -- primates with a history of escaping their cages -- rounded up by Furgy from a nearby wildlife attraction and banished to the Island as a kind of Alcatraz. They were popular then, and their descendants have remained a popular draw to the Resort, which is otherwise focused on manatee tours. The monkeys are fed twice daily, and have free run of their tiny monkey-only utopia.

Visitors, in addition to the restaurant vantage point, can walk down to a short adjacent dock to observe the residents of Monkey Island.

In 2023-2024 a nonprofit spent around $150,000 to bring Monkey Island up to current USDA standards, with enhancements including a new monkey playground and a hut with air conditioning and heat. More wild monkeys may be added; there are apparently a lot of them scampering around in Florida.

Monkey Island

10985 W. Xanadu Path, Homosassa, FL
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 onto S. Boulevard Drive and drive to the parking lot at the end. You can see the island to the left, from the boat ramp.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Homosassa Springs Wildlife ParkHomosassa Springs Wildlife Park, Homosassa Springs, FL - 2 mi.
Bubbles the ManateeBubbles the Manatee, Homosassa, FL - 3 mi.
GMC Strong Man StatueGMC Strong Man Statue, Homosassa, FL - 5 mi.
In the region:
Junk Art of Hong Kong Willie, Tampa, FL - 52 mi.

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