Florida is blessed with hundreds of springs. Most are in the forests and wooded ares of northern Florida. In fact, one of the largest preserves in the state is the Ocala National Forest. Just before you enter the federal reserve, in Ocala, Florida there is a spring called Silver Springs. This spring could be just another large spring in Florida unless you know the history behind Silver Springs, like –
- Silver Springs pushes 550 million gallons of crystal clear water into the Silver River every day.
- Silver Springs has been a Florida attraction since the 1870’s
- The springs were the site of filming Tarzan, The Apeman, TV show Seahunt, the movie Creature from the Black Lagoon and the James Bond movie Thunderball, plus many more.
- Drawing a million visitors a year, the springs operates a fleet of glass bottom boats shuttling people down the waters of the river.
- The Silver Springs Park encompasses almost 5000 acres. Many acres are devoted to bike trails, hiking trails, canoe water ways, camping, boating and much more.
- Animals sighted at the park include the occasional bear, alligators, raccoons, possums, deer wild turkey, wild boar and even a colony of rhesus monkeys inhabit the park.
No other Florida springs offer this much activity and history.
The entrance to the Silver Springs includes several displays of wildlife and history. The entrance to many different length hiking trails is just outside the doors of the main building. One popular area is a boardwalk resting just above the forest floor and stretching almost a half mile. There are various places to rent paddle boards, canoes and other fun water vehicles.
There is plenty of parking at the park plus many different picnic areas. A restaurant is located in the main building as you enter. You can easily spend a day at Silver Springs hiking, picnicking, taking the glass bottom boat ride and walking the elevated boardwalk.
Silver Springs Sate Park is located just on the eastern edge of Ocala, Florida on Silver Springs Blvd. (St. Rt. 40). Ocala is just off I-75 about 2 and a half hours from Tampa, an hour from Jacksonville, hour and a half from Orlando and 4 hours from Miami. Fabulous Florida day trip.