We all flew down to Florida Saturday morning and are currently staying with my parents near Leesburg, just northwest of Orlando. The boys have been hankerin' for some Manatee action, so today we drove over to Homosassa Springs on the gulf coast. Very worthwhile trip - you can see photos in my Flickr set.
This place used to be one of those classic, campy privately owned Florida wildlife tourist attractions. Apparently you could often find the animals from the TV show Daktari there (and Lu, the hippo from the show, is still a resident). The state of Florida took over the park in the 1980s and they've done a nice job of keeping it tourist friendly and non-commercial.
The park is a mini-zoo, with the highlight being the captive manatees (orphans and rehab cases). Our friends also recommend Blue Springs State Park, situated on the St Johns River, as a great place to see manatees in the wild.
Tomorrow we will drive down closer to Disney World in preparation for a day at the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday.