Home: Please come to Silver Springs

If you come to Orlando, your tendency is to stay put. You could go over to Daytona, to see the “world’s most beautiful beach.” You could make a side trip out to the Kennedy Space Center, or go down to Bush Gardens. You could take a longer side trip to Miami, or a more fun one to St. Augustine. If I was fancier, I would, of course go to Ringling, with a side trip to Lakeland to look at Wright’s  Southern designed college.

Signage and alligator feast of chicken thighs.

Inside the glass bottom boat.

Sunken Greek statues formerly used for a James Bond flick about 30 feet below sea level (left). One housed so you can see it inside one of the buildings (right).

Not many think of Silver Springs, about an hour and a half away. I had not been there in years, but Janene nostalgically wanted to go. I did not know if I wanted to make the trip, to look down into the leaky glass bottom boat. In some ways it has changed some, and in some ways I am afraid it will not be around for much more. So please, if you go to Central Florida, take a side trip to Silver Springs.

It costs about $33. It is about $12 more than seeing the Vatican Museum (sans airfare). That is about 13 more than seeing MoMA in NY. It is about $40 less than Disney, SeaWorld or Bush Gardens. If you live in Florida, you can get a one-time resident ticket and go back all year long. Check online, and be adamant at the park, ’cause they get a little confused and try to sell you a more expensive ticket.

http://www.silversprings.com/tickets.html#np

There are a lot of closed shops, which is what worried me about the park. Those shops used to be full and open. These days only one is open. Not a good sign. There are three boat rides, and the glass bottom boats at the start of the park are still the original and still interesting. There are two others. The Fort King River Cruisewith Captain Virginia (see below left),  I like the best, even with a lot of hoke thrown in, because it gives you a sense about the park and the area’s history. There is a wild animal ride, not quite the caliber of Bush Gardens. There is also wonderful side show of animals including gators and snakes, with trained people who make it all worthwhile.

Silver Springs has been around forever, as one of the original “tourist” attractions. Please go to Silver Springs, it is not Disney. In that sense it smacks more of reality, so if that is not your thing, this is not for you. It is a good ride away, just outside Ocala on a lot of traveled, but tourist friendly roads. Please go see Silver Spring, it is pristine and quite beautiful, in an unglamorous way.

Please go see Silver Springs, help save this gem of a park. And if you get a chance go to Weeki Wachee, too.

The Gator Guy and Snakeman really love what they do, and it comes out. So does the fact that the Creature from the Black Lagoon was from here (blue screen, while poor Lawton Chiles stares into space)! For a great article about the park ties to Hollywood, please read:

http://dweebcentric.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/the-other-hollywood/

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