Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Like many early attractions, it is now a state park. Over the years Silver Springs was used as the backdrop for early Tarzan movies, and also appeared in Creature from the Black Lagoon, among other films. The park has many other components; a camping area, an outdoor stage, a reconstructed village (open on weekends only) the boat tours and smaller museums. Also off to the side is a canoe/kayak rental and launch. The launch (and the boat tours) are an additional fee to the park entrance.
The launch is in a corner of the parking lot, away from the main entrance. It leads on to a small channel, like that shown above. (This picture was taking coming back along a connecting channel.) Spanish moss dripping from live oak, adds a certain serenity to the trip.
We paddled by a variety of springs, some are known for their depth, or for their use in movies or TV scenes; one has a boat sunk into it, others are known for attracting turtles.
We did see lots of turtles and fish though.
And several birds, including these ibis.
The loop we did was just under two miles, pretty short, but considering we got to travel over several springs (in many parks the more active springs are roped off for swimming), see all sorts of scenery and wildlife, plus enjoy a shady paddle, it felt like a great deal. Those seeking longer paddles can head down Silver Springs River. Though you may not be able to get all the way to Palotka anymore, you can certainly paddle a number of miles.
Wikipedia Silver Springs Park
Map of Florida Springs
Florida State Parks information about Silver Springs
Summary: Entrance to the park $8, launch fee $4 per boat, kayak and canoe rental's available. Portapotty by boat ramp, flush toilets in the park. Glass bottom boat tours are an additional fee. Displays, and food available in the park. The park sometimes shuts early for concert events. Two mile loop with gentle current, longer trips available down the river.