Monkey Island

May 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured

Monkey Island sits in the middle of the Homosassa river and is inhabited year-round by a small family of monkeys. The island is owned by The Homosassa Riverside Resort. They care for the monkeys and feed them regularly. You can get an up-close look from a boat and take pictures or you can see Monkey Island from the resort grounds. You can also see the island from the public boat ramp next to MacRae’s but you’ll need binoculars to view the monkeys from there.


Story has it that G.A. (Furgy) Furgason, also known as “Mr. Homosassa” because of his planning and directing of much of the areas surroundings, worked 36 years with Bruce A. Norris of the Norris Cattle Company until his retirement in 1983. They negotiated deals to buy the land where the Yardarm Lounge, the Riverside Resort and the Riverside Crab House, the Wildlife Park, the Crow’s Nest, Sugarmill Woods, and Riverhaven Village now sit.


Mr. Furgason said he ran into the late Dr. John N. Hamlet in Rapid City and convinced the naturalist to come to Florida. Upon his arrival, Dr. Hamlet was hired by Weekie Wachee as a naturalist and subsequently was hired by Furgy. Dr. Hamlet had captured monkeys and brought them to America where they were used to perfect the polio vaccine.

Monkey Island was just a pile of rocks in the 1960’s that took the bottoms right out of boats during high tide. Furgy went to Africa on Norris Cattle business leaving instructions for the dragline operator, working for him on

the Crow’s Nest, “pull some dirt around those rocks so the boaters can see it better”. When he got back to Homosassa, the dragline operator had piled so much dirt and rocks up that he had succeeded in building a barren island right outside the Yardarm.

Having no idea what to do with this horrible eyesore, he decided to build a lighthouse on it. He then started thinking about the monkeys along the canal at the Attraction. There were some that were rather difficult, always escaping and getting into visitors cars, stealing candy and biting tourists. He said he had often thought of sending them to Alcatraz and decided the island would be perfect. He put three spider monkeys and two squirrel monkeys on the island with some huts and some trees.

The first island monkeys lasted 12 years before they began to die and were replaced with younger monkeys. The island turned out to be a big attraction for the visitors and became known as Monkey Island.

Palm trees were planted but the monkeys kept eating the palm hearts, which caused the trees to die. Cedars replaced them and prospered.

Today there are five spider monkeys on the island. There is Ralph, the alpha male, Sassy, the matriarch and Ebony, their offspring plus two of the newest female adoptions of Eve and Emily. The two squirrel monkeys, Tiny and Tim, died of old age in 2003. New houses, play toys and enhancement features are always being added for their amusement. Visitors to our river are a constant source of entertainment for the monkey family.

Even though the ownership of the property with island has changed over the years, the monkeys have always been under the care of the owners. The monkeys are fed twice a day from a menu designed specifically for them and consisting of green leafy vegetables, bananas, oranges, sweet potatoes, raw peanuts and monkey chow.

They remain on the island because they prefer not to swim and the river acts as a natual barrier. Today they still delight the Yardarm and hotel guests with their playful antics.

Homosassa Riverside Resort

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Hotels

The Homosassa Riverside Resort is situated on the banks of the Homosassa River. The resort is a great place to relax and have fun! There are endless activities such as river tours, manatee tours, fishing charters and more. You can share a sunset and riverside cocktail or just spend time dreaming by the pool. Your likely to be entertained by the antics of the monkeys on Monkey Island, manatees in the river or passing dolphins!

The waterfront resort has one and two-bedroom riverfront rooms and suites complete with balconey or patio. You can bring your boat and pay a small fee for ramp use and boat slip space. Some of the other on-site amenities include…

Riverside Crab House
The beautiful, family-friendly, main dining room has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Homosassa River. Fresh blue crabs caught from the river by local fisherman are served daily.

Yardarm Lounge
Citrus County’s oldest and most favorite riverside lounge. Floor to ceiling glass, second story panoramic view of the Homosassa River. Featuring entertainment and history. Make new friends while enjoying your favorite cocktail at the 65′ cooper bar. What a beautiful slice of local history.

The Monkey Bar
Fun in the trees! This double-decker tiki bar overlooks our very own Monkey Island. Enjoy cool island drinks and entertainment while watching the antics of the monkeys, the passing dolphins, the jumping tarpon, playful otters, manatee, and many native birds… including Bald Eagles.  Oh yes, and the people.

Contact Info:

Homosassa Riverside Resort
5297 S. Cherokee Way, Homosassa, FL 34448


Riverside Crab House

November 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Dining

Featuring Prime Rib, Chicken Marsala or the Fresh Catch of the Day. All entrees are served with freshly baked dinner rolls, tossed Caesar salad and a baked potato.

Riverside Crab House Restaurant
Yardarm Lounge & the Monkey Bar


Breakfast Saturday & Sunday 7am til 10:30am
Lunch Monday thru Sunday: 11am til 4pm
Dinner Sunday thru Thursday 4pm til 9pm
Friday & Saturday 4pm til 10pm

Sunday thru Thursday 11am til 10pm
Friday & Saturday 11am til 11pm
Our Specials

$1.00 Budlight & Miller Light Drafts
$2.00 Domestic Bottled Beer
$2.00 Wells
$3.00 Import Bottled Beer

All you can eat Fish & Chips $8.95
MONDAY through FRIDAY 11am to 4pm

Steak Night! –  ONLY $12.95
12 oz. Delmonico steak grilled over open charcoal flames served with red bliss potatoes and corn on the cob.

Crab Specials
Soft Shell Blue Crab, King, Snow and Dungeness Crab

Dinner & River Cruise $24.95
Enjoy a hour long narrated river tour, by one of our USCG licensed Captains, on our 48 passanger pontoon boat. Return to our restaurant and dine on your choice of Prime Rib, Chicken Marsala or the Fresh Catch of the Day. All entrees are served with freshly baked dinner rolls, tossed Caesar salad and a baked potato.
EVERYDAY 2:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00pm

Homosassa Riverside Resort
5297 S. Cherokee Way
Homosassa, FL 34448