Just Monkeying Around


Hey Lissa!

I’m really enjoying exploring the “Nature Coast.”

Look at this cool place in Homosassa called “Monkey Island.” Apparently it started out as a pile of rocks in the middle of the Homosassa River that people kept wrecking their boats on. A man named G.A. Ferguson (aka “Furgy”), who was busy developing the Homosassa Riverside Resort, instructed a dragline operator to dump some dirt on the rocks so they would be more visible to boaters. When he got back from his travels, he discovered the dragline operator had gotten carried away and created a small island.

So to make it less of an eyesore, he built the lighthouse on the island and landscaped it a bit. At the time, he was also busy with the nearby Homosassa Wildlife State Park, and having problems with a troupe of five monkeys that were prone to escaping, stealing candy, getting into visitors’ cars and biting tourists. Originally brought into the country to be used for experimentation with the polio vaccine, the monkeys had been donated to the attraction by a scientist by the name of Dr. John Hamlet.

Anyway, to make a long story short, this Furgy fellow wished he could banish the mischievous monkeys to Alcatraz, and then got the idea to make the island into his own little monkey version. This was around 40 years ago, and the original three spider monkeys, Ralph, Sassy and their daughter Ebony still live on the island. After a long and happy life, Tiny and Tim, the two squirrel monkeys passed away, and were replaced by Eve and Emily, two more spider monkeys who were adopted in 2006.

The resort’s website assures visitors that the monkeys are well cared for, receive regular veterinary checkups, and that all the buildings and playthings on the island are regularly moved around to keep them amused. They are fed twice daily and receive lots of leafy green veggies, bananas, oranges, sweet potatoes, raw peanuts and monkey chow. And, of course, they have lots of fun gawking back at all the strange tourists frequently circling the island in boats.

You can read the whole story at the Riverside Resort website: http://www.riversideresorts.com/DinnerandaCruise.html and even view the monkeys via a live “monkey cam” on the island.

There’s a really cool restaurant called the “Monkey Bar” where you can watch the monkeys while you chow down on excellent seafood. Gotta go back there!

(as always, click to see a larger version of the picture)


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One Response to “Just Monkeying Around”

  1. thisyearinmusic Says:

    I’d like a drink in the Monkey Bar on Monkey Island!

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