Friday, September 11, 2015

Exploring Silver Springs

Yesterday I shared about our Labor Day Weekend trip to Florida and mentioned an adventure we had planned on Sunday.  After we got back from the beach we met up with the kids and Gigi and Papa to head to Silver Springs.

Silver Springs is located between Orlando and Gainesville in central Florida and it hosts an array of wildlife from monkeys to alligators.  The Silver Springs is made up of a group of springs that occur in the headwaters, coves and edges of the Silver River, which leads to the Ocklawaha River.  An interesting little tit-bit of info for you is that the water coming from the Silver Springs amounts to over 550 million gallons per day!

The original plan was for us to rent canoes and explore the Silver River up to the springs, but a Boy Scout troop took most of the canoes so we had to change our plans.  Instead we entered through the main state park entrance and it felt like we were stepping back in time.

Right away we popped in the museum and educational center.  The kids were fascinated by the wildlife displays of all of the types of animals found around the Silver Springs and Silver River area. There were also real live snakes and reptiles on display for everyone to see.

This museum also showed some memorabilia and history of the springs.  Silver Springs has been a natural landmark since the 1870's and it holds so much history.  They are known for their famous glass bottom boats so tourist can view the white sand bottoms and wildlife up close.  Also, movies like Tarzan were filmed here so the history there is really rich.

It was interesting for us to walk around with Gigi and Papa.  They both grew up Florida and said that being there was like being in Florida many years ago before the theme parks and mega tourist attractions.

We ate a quick lunch in the cafe and then walked on one of the nature paths to observe the springs close up.

We were going to try out one of the famous glass bottom boats, but there was about an hour wait and we knew the kids probably wouldn't last that long.  Walking the nature path was just as fun and we got to go at our own pace and stop and see all of the sights we wanted to.

After soaking in all of the sights we made our way back to the main entrance area and grabbed some ice cream to cool off in the ice cream shop.  While we were sitting there waiting on the kids to finish up I looked out the window and spotted this.

Yes, those are large panties for sale at a little booth outside the ice cream shop. They were also selling pearls.  Panties and Pearls...quite the random assortment.  Ha!

I don't know that I would go to Silver Springs as my main destination, but if you find yourself in central Florida an have a free afternoon, I would definitely recommend it.  You only have to pay $8 per car load (up to 8 people) and after that it's free to walk around and explore.  To be honest, a lot of the areas looked a little run-down from it's glory days, but this park still had so much to offer and we had a great afternoon there.
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