It was another gloomy morning, 100% humidity. At least it was not in the 80’s, rather a more comfortable 60-something. We waited until almost noon before we went to see Silver Springs State Park. By then a little sunshine was peeking through the clouds.
I was here way back in 1977 and I remember this being a big deal. But things have changed a lot since then. Of course I was here in the summertime and it’s winter now. This is the largest limestone artesian spring formation in the world and Florida’s oldest attraction. This used to be a private enterprise, but a couple of years ago the Florida State Parks system took it over. When we arrived at noon the parking lot had only about 15 cars in it.
There is some construction/renovation happening here. A carousel was closed and fenced off and half the reception area was closed too. A cafe, ice cream shop, and museum were open.
The main event here is the World Famous Glass Bottom Boats, and that’s what we came here for. We got our tickets for that and waited quite a while past our 12:30 boarding time for enough passengers to fill the boat before we started.
The tour lasted about 30 minutes. The captain guided the glass bottom boat over the natural springs areas and explained some of the features and the history of the area. It was pretty cool. Hollywood has made several movies here including six of the original Tarzan movies and The Creature From the Black Lagoon, as well as the TV series Sea Hunt.
We also saw a few turtles and some fish as well as one alligator, but no Manatee. There are Rhesus monkeys around, but none were seen today. The captain said the monkeys go wherever they want to go and he thought they were further down the river than where we went.
After the tour we walked around the grounds. One point of interest is the “lucky palm” that grew in a circle. If you stand in the center of it you will have good luck. Maybe we should buy some lottery tickets!
We continued our walk through the gardens and along a cement walkway. There used to be animals here, like giraffes and bears, but they’re gone now.
A few roses were still blooming and then we spotted this one splash of color.
After that we took a drive through the Silver Springs campground. Half the campsites were closed, they are currently upgrading, adding sewer hookups and adding onto the city water and sewer system. The other half we could see. Wonderful, level, well groomed, very large pull-thru and back-in sites. Even so, they were only about half full. We’ll remember this for next time!
AND! We have reservations to take the Auto Train north on January 25. More about that later.
- State Park Admission: $7
- Glass Bottom Boat Tour: $21