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*Now before you get too excited, you can only kayak up to the island, interacting with the monkeys is strictly prohibited.*
Located in the heart of Homosassa, Florida, is a spider monkey paradise - or Alcatraz - depending on how you look at it.
Known as Monkey Island, and located on the Homosassa River (can be seen from behind the Florida Cracker Riverside Resort), this little nature preserve offers tourists a chance to stop and admire a truly unusual roadside attraction.
According to the history of theisland, primates were brought to Florida in the mid-1900s by doctors trying to perfect the Polio vaccine. Being the mischievous creatures they are, they started to create chaos around town, ultimately leading to their solitary island banishment, hence the "Alcatraz" reference.
The island was turned into a tiny primate paradise, complete with places to sleep, eat and play. They even have their own lighthouse (and boat!).
While many of the original group have since passed away, new ones have been introduced. Surprisingly, these monkeys prefer not to swim so this little plot of land has kept the critters and their offspring contained for over half a century, and they are still cared for daily by the resort.
Paying these little guys a visit is totally free, and they can be easily observed either from a boat or from the resort's outside dining porch.
There are plenty of warning signs posted around the island asking guests to keep their distance, and there is 24/hour surveillance.
You can see my picture below of the view from the porch!