Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Silver Springs State Park

The old Silver Springs theme park, which was a favorite destination for thousands of people for many years, is no more. Families and children came here to ride the glass-bottom boats, and the river boats that cruised down through jungle-like territory where you could see monkeys, old Indian villages, a variety of exotic animals, a replica of an early fort, and much more. They came to take a jeep ride also through the jungle and to watch the huge bears loll about and to visit the petting zoo, the giraffe compound, the alligator pit and much more.  They loved to ride the merry-go-round.

Many movies were made here, wholly or in part:

Legend in 1985
Moonraker in 1979
Never Say Never Again in 1983
Rebel Without A Cause in 1955
Thunderball in 1965
Tarzan the Ape Man 1932
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983)
I Spy (the 1965 TV Series)
Sea Hunt (1958 - Many episodes)
Cross Creek (1983)
Revenge of the Creature (1955)
Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
The Yearling (1946)
Sam Whiskey (1969)
Distant Drums (1951)
Zaat (1971)
The Wild Women of Wongo (1958)
Tarzan Finds a Son (1939)
Tarzan's Secret Treasure (1941)
99 and 44/100% Dead (1974)
The Frogmen (1951)
Moon Over Miami (1941)
The Barefoot Mailman (1951)
Down to the Sea (1936)
Counterspy (1958 TV movie)

And many more....

But Silver Springs fell on bad times and gradually became a mere shadow of it's glory days. Last fall, the State of Florida arranged to take it over and it is in process of being incorporated into the Silver River State Park which is adjacent. The only rides left are the glass-bottom boats. The entire area is going to become a "natural" park with camping and trails and swimming will be allowed once again. The main spring pours 550 million gallons of water per day into the Silver River which is a tributary of the Oklawaha River which feeds into the St. Johns. 

The water is clear and remains a constant 72 degrees year round.

We spent a day wandering through the park just recently.  It is still worth visiting!

You can read much more about the park here.


Olivier said...

ca fait rever cet endroit, superbes photos, j'adore

Judy said...

It is beautiful and I remember going there when I was a child. I hope more families can make memories there in the future even if it has changed.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It is so interesting to me the different things the State does with these old attractions. Probably this was the best solution for this one... I will look up more info on both the State Park and the history of this one.

William Kendall said...

Returning it back to a more natural setting feels like the right thing to do.

Lois said...

I remember going to Silver Springs when I was a kid. I'm glad they still have the glass bottom boats. I know I mentioned Wakulla Springs the other day, which is just a few miles south of Tallahassee. They have glass bottom boats there too and the old lodge which was built by Edward Ball back in the 1930's. It is also now a state park.

hamilton said...

If you were familiar with the park, it would be fun to spot the familiar sights in those movies.

SRQ said...

I was just reading an article yesterday about the State Park. Wherever I've lived, I've always had an annual state park pass. Can't go wrong it with a state park! I'm looking forward to Silver Springs opening.

Kate said...

Great spot for Tarzan movies that I LOVED when I was a kid! Bravo for the poem you posted on my blog today!!

Jack said...

This seems like a good resolution for a failed private park.

Randy said...

That's alot of green.

Kay said...

550 million gallons of water per day? Wow! That's a heck of an aquifer!

My preference is for a more natural environment...and who can compete with Disneyland, anyhow?

Small City Scenes said...

It's kinda sad when friendly family parks fall into disrepair and then fade away. I am glad it will reopen as a nature park with trails etc. Hopefully people continue to visit. Very beautiful. MB

cieldequimper said...

Now I have a whole list of films to look for...

LOLfromPasa said...

I am so glad your very comprehensive post has a happy ending. It looks a beautiful spot. I fancy a ride on the glass bottom boat :).

EG CameraGirl said...

Sounds good to me that this is becoming part of the adjacent state park.

Sharon said...

I have strong memories of riding the glass bottom boats and looking at the jungle like trees around me. I also remember sitting on the curving, twisted trunks of palm trees to have my picture taken. I'm glad it will be incorporated into the state park system.
I can't believe all those films had scenes shot there.

Halcyon said...

It's too bad there's not enough funding to keep the park running like it was. But at least it's not totally shutting down. I can tell this is a very special place to you Lowell! :)

RedPat said...

It looks like a wonderful lush place, Lowell!

VP said...

Three James Bond movies, and all those others... Now I curious to watch again some looking for this place!

Karl said...

A very famous park.
Would be nice to walk here around, one day...

Bergson said...

and lowell and his shot !!!

a place very peaceful

Unknown said...

No wonder all those movies were shot there. Would love to visit the park!

Amber said...

Love love love this park. By far one of my favorite springs! If only we could swim in it! It's under new ownership now, right? Well we will just have to come up and visit it again!

"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." — Henri Cartier-Bresson