This week’s blog recaptures some earlier ideas on what to do with visitors or yourself (see my previous CITRUS COUNTY ACTIVITY BLOGS 5, 8, 9, & 10). This week, I include water adventures, physical activities, entertainment, and cultural activities. I do not talk about common things such as movies, bowling, etc. Hope you find some good ideas. Next week I will talk about trips within an hour away.
As always, let me know of your ideas.
SCROLL TO LOOK FOR YOUR INTEREST:
*LAND ADVENTURES: Crystal River Escape Room, Bike/Hike, Alpaca Magic Farm, Whispering Springs Park
*WATER ADVENTURES: Swim/view Manatee, Boat, Canoe/Kayak, Fish, Paddle/Hike Trail
*Concert & Special Events Venues & Schedules
Probably the newest adventure off the water: Crystal River Escape Room
Bring your friends, family and coworkers for an hour of fun, excitement, creativity and teamwork. You have 1 hour to try and “ESCAPE“. Your team must find the codes, solve the clues, cipher the riddles and put together the puzzles to earn their freedom and its only $20.00 per person per game. Do you have what it takes? Will you escape? Remember ……. the clock is ticking!!! BOOK NOW to guarantee your time slot – Games run by appointment only. http://www.crystalriverroomescape.com/ 8740 Mayo Drive Suite #5 Crystal River, FL 34429 (352)228-4033 firstname.lastname@example.org
Biking is great exercise and a wonderful way to see a variety of natural settings found in Citrus County. Many of the bike trails are suitable for walks and hikes.
A popular cycling route (and a good walking trail) is the “Rails to Trails” Withlacoochee State Trail. Formerly a railroad right-of-way, the 47-mile trail is paved its entire length through Citrus County. If you don’t have your own bicycle, rental bikes and roller blades are available: in the downtown Inverness area: Inverness Bicycle & Fitness, http://www.invernessbicycle.com/, 352-637-2453; Dave’s World Cycle: https://www.davidsworld.com, 352-637-5757; Dunnellon: Blue Run Bicycles: http://www.bluerunbicycles.com/, 352-465-7538 and Floral City :Trailside Bikes, https://trailside.bike/, 352-419-4809.
Alpaca Magic USA:-“Yes, you can visit the farm any day between 10 and 2. You get up close and personal with the alpacas and learn more about them, free! After your visit with the alpacas you can walk through the gardens and/or browse through their store. The store has many items made from the luxurious fleece; maybe you’ll find the perfect gift for a special someone. http://www.alpacamagicusa.com
“Looking for a park with free admission and fun for the whole family only 15 minutes away? You need not look any further than Whispering Pines Park: Picnic area, children’s playground, water playground, swimming pool, tennis, racquetball and basketball courts, along with athletic fields are all free of charge. Courts are lighted for evening play. Walking, hiking & mountain biking trails and Disc Golf – An 18 hole disc golf course winds its way through the trees and hills of the park. Discs, score cards, map and information about the game are available at the Administration building or at the pool during public swim hours.
Citrus County has 25,000 acres of rivers and lakes and of course, the Gulf of Mexico.
“A manatee has a face only Mother Nature could love.” Once you meet a manatee, you’re hooked. The official marine mammal of the state of Florida, manatees are nearsighted, slow-moving herbivores that average about 10 feet in length and weigh in at roughly 1,200 pounds. And they are here in Citrus County, FL!
Keep dry and see them at the Homosassa Wildlife Park. The Homosassa Springs Park is always a good spot to see the manatee and other Florida wildlife. Take the boat ride to the park or train from the location on Hwy 19 or go directly to the park on Yulee Drive. The park has never disappointed any of my guests: 210-acre park that– “encompasses some of Florida’s loveliest landscape and the headwaters of the Homosassa River. The park serves as a rehabilitation center and refuge for injured and orphaned endangered West Indian manatees. The natural spring environment allows them an opportunity to re-acclimate themselves to a more natural environment before they are returned to the wild. The park also offers visitors an opportunity to observe Florida’s native wildlife in natural settings. One strolls along paved trails and boardwalks to see manatees, black bear, bobcats, key deer, alligators, grey fox, otters and cougars at close range. Most of the birds and animals that live here cannot survive in the wild. 352-628-5343.
A new addition to the area is the free Trolley bus to Three Sisters Springs. The trolley includes admission to the springs: $15 for adults, $12 for children and $12.50 for seniors. The trolley is nice if you want to travel there (9 am-4:30 pm). The trolley starts at the Chamber of Commerce located near the Crystal River airport. It will take you to the Three Sisters area where you can view the manatee by walking the boardwalk. There is a short nature path to walk also. The trolley returns and then takes you through downtown Crystal River where there are several restaurants and shops to explore.
View the MANATEE in the wild via a boat tour. You can take a boat ride to see the manatee for $15 a person out of Plantation Inn’s Marina. http://www.plantationoncrystalriver.com/, 800-632-6262. They also offer snorkeling experiences with he manatee. With the water temps pretty stable at 71 degrees, the jump into the water is startling, but once you are used to the temp you are not cold again until you get out and return to the boat. Bring a warm garment to put on afterwards. I have had one recommendation for a snorkeling tour guide: Manatee Tour and Dive. http://manateetoursusa.com/, 352-795-1333.
If boating is your desire but owning a boat isn’t, there are also a number of local Citrus County businesses that can rent you a vessel for a few hours, a day, a week, or more. Once you are on the water, you still face a multitude of decisions of what you want to do: sightseeing, fishing, water sports, snorkeling, or maybe just relaxing the day away from phones, deadlines, and other signs of civilization that surround us. In the past, we have rented a pontoon boat through River Haven Marina, http://www.riverhavenmarina.com/,(352-628-5545).
If you want the fun of boating without having to drive the boat (there are shallow waters to maneuver here!) Citrus County also has a number of airboat tours and boat tour operators to suit your needs. Visit some local links below for a choice of tours and guides around the area. I included companies that people recommended to me.
Noisy and wet experience but fun!
Captain Stu’s Custom Airboat Tours, Homosassa: http://www.airboatours.com/, 352-382-9207.
Wild Bill’s Airboat Rides, Inverness, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wild-Bills-Airboat-Tours/185133421505964?sk=timeline, 352-726-6060
Crystal River Preserve – Boat Tours HERITAGE-ECO BOAT TOURS
“The vessel “Monroe” (24 passengers) is the vehicle for a lower river Heritage-Eco Tour. The program “The Ancient River Dwellers” is provided weekly. The cost is $15.00 for adults, $10.00 for children under 12 years of age, children 6 years of age and under are free. The 1.5-hour trip allows the participants the opportunity to see the coastal marsh and learn how it and the associated marine estuary provided for the pre-Columbian people that lived here. Boat trips currently run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., but are subject to change due to weather conditions. Tickets are first come first serve beginning one hour prior to boat trips. Passengers may get in line as early as they wish. Boat tours frequently SELL OUT quickly in the spring season. As it is not unusual to sell the entire boat in the first 10 minutes of ticket sales, we encourage travelers to arrive early.” We have taken guests several times, and it is an interesting tour… Bring bug spray for the no-seeums.
Sunset Cruises depart from the Crystal River Preserve State Park Visitor Center dock for a delightful Sunset Cruise and travel out to the Gulf for a spectacular sunset. These cruises, which are offered twice a month, are a fun and relaxing Friday evening retreat back to nature with refreshments and snacks provided. Advance tickets are available one month in advance at the Preserve Visitor Center. The cost is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for children 12 and under, age 6 and under are free. Call ahead at (352) 563-0450 for dates and departure times.
Citrus County offers some of the finest sport fishing to be found anywhere. Saltwater fishermen can find grouper and snapper off reefs and coastal rock piles; sea trout and Spanish mackerel frequent grass beds. Cobia and sheepshead can be found around channel markers, redfish and whiting off oyster bars and tarpon on the flats. To the East, freshwater fishing is the best game in town! Freshwater fishermen can find sunshine bass in the Lake Tsala Apopka chain, speckled perch in Lake Rousseau, catfish in the Withlacoochee River and Florida largemouth bass almost everywhere. The “flats” area around Citrus County make for excellent redfish and spotted sea trout fishing. Many other species are also caught on a seasonal basis. The area draws on fishermen worldwide for Tarpon fishing.–Recommended guides by our Black Diamond membership included:
Mark Zorn,www.captainmarkzorn.com, 352-489-5168 or 352-400-1952.
William (Bill) Tony 352-422-4141.
Mark usually fishes out of Crystal River and Bill usually fishes out of Homosassa. Both are excellent guides.
I have been following Mike Baize on Facebook and he looks like he has a nice operation for sunset cruises, fishing or scalloping. http://captainmikebaize.com/, 352-697-1811
Captain Rick Baer. 352-212-8931“www.naturecoastcharterservice.com
Info on fishing licenses: http://myfwc.com/license/ or call 888-347-4356
Whether canoeing down a scenic river or lake, exploring a paddling trail or tackling some fantastic fishing from a kayak, you will find that Citrus County’s waterways yield remarkable experiences to those with a penchant for paddling. Citrus County Paddling Locations: Chassahowitzka River, Crystal River, Homosassa River, Tsala Apopka Lake Chain, and Withlacoochee River. Paddling companies include: Crystal River: Manatee Paddle, http://www.manateepaddle.com/, 352-564-0901. Aardvark’s Florida Kayak Co.http://www.floridakayakcompany.com/index.html,352-795-5650.
Rainbow River paddling trips generally start at Rainbow Springs State Park. From there, paddlers will make their way back to Dunnellon. At the lower section of the river, there are a number of businesses in Dunnellon that will transport you as far up the river as you like and drop you off so that you can float back to their locations. These businesses are also able to tell you exactly how long it will take to complete your adventure and equip you with everything you will need to complete it safely. One company to check out:
From Rainbow Springs Park you can also “tube” down the river.
Blue Run Bicycles in Dunnellon sells stand up paddle boards and gear.
River Paddling Trail: Plan a kayak trip and rent all the equipment you need to make it a success. If you are looking to explore the upper section of the river, Nobleton Outpost rents kayaks and canoes in that area. 352-796-7176
Paddling & Hiking trip:
If you are interested in creating a nature excursion that combines trail hiking with your paddling adventure, there is seven-mile hiking trail along the Withlacoochee River that connects the Hog Island Recreation Area with the River Junction Recreation Area. This means that you can paddle from River Junction to Hog Island and then hike back to River Junction to retrieve your vehicle and go pick up your boat. Regardless of how long you would like your paddling trip to be, or how much experience you have, there is an appropriate trip that can be designed for just about anyone along the Withlacoochee Paddling Trail. See the guide for more info.
Concert & Special Events Venues/Schedule
Valerie Theatre Schedule
January 15 @ 10:30AM
January 20 @ 3PM
January 20 @ 7:30PM
TIM WALKOE, Comedy/Music
January 21 @ 3PM
ON THE TOWN (NR)
January 27, 2018 7:00PM
CITRUS GOT TALENT
CITRUS GOT TALENT is the finals competition from the Cooter Festival 2017
January 28 @ 3PM
GRAND PRIX (NR)
February 4 @ 3PM
A STAR IS BORN (PG)
February 9 @ 7:30PM Friday Night at the Movies!
THE BIG LEBOWSKI (R)
February 11 @ 3PM
WOMAN OF THE YEAR (NR)
February 17 @ 3PM
THREE ON A STRING
February 17 @ 7:30PM
THREE ON A STRING
February 18 @ 3PM
MY FAVORITE YEAR (PG)
February 25 @ 3PM
DAYS OF HEAVEN (PG)
March 4 @ 3PM
WAIT UNTIL DARK (NR)
March 9 @ 7:30PM Friday Night at the Movies
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (PG)
March 11 @ 3PM
PILLOW TALK (NR)
March 18 @ 3PM
March 25 @ 3PM
THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (G)
Rock Crusher Canyon Schedule call 352-746-4000
Saturday, January 27, 2018- Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival – Tickets $10
Sunday, January 28, 2018– The Machine Performs Pink Floyd-Tickets $20 ~
Saturday, March 3, 2018– A Night with Elvis ~ Cote performs Live with the Double Trouble Band with Special Guest, Rockin’ Ron and The New Society Band. Tickets $15 in Advance and $18 Day of Show. TICKETS ON SALE NOW!
Saturday, January 27, 2018– Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival – Tickets $10
Saturday, February 3, 2018 – Rotary Highland Brew Fest – Ticket Prices Vary.
Saturday, March 31, 2018 – Citrus County Chronicle ManXpo (Free Admission)
Inverness Courthouse: Concert Series
Concert Series – Infinido
Thu, February 15, 7pm – 9pm
2nd Floor Courtroom/Old Historic Courthouse (map)
Infinido – A 6-piece Latin band that performs Salsa, Merengue, Latin Jazz, Cumbia, and Romanticas; Tickets are $25; Doors open at 6:00pm, music begins at 7:00pm; for more information call: 352/341-6428 or email: email@example.com; One Courthouse Square, Inverness, FL 34450
Concert Series – Castlebay
Thu, March 15, 7pm – 9pm
2nd Floor Courtroom/Old Historic Courthouse (map)
Castlebay – performing a mix of music from coaster Main to the shorts of Celtic lands. Doors open at 6:00pm (social hour); Tickets are $15; Doors open at 6:00pm; music begins at 7:00pm; for more information call: 352/341-6428 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; One Courthouse Square, Inverness, FL 34450