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|Name||Silver Springs State Park|
|Address||1425 NE 58th Ave, Ocala, FL 34470|
If you’ve ever wondered what happens to a tourist attraction in Florida when the company goes under, then Silver Springs State Park has the best case answer for you. Apparently early on, it was a big to do in Florida, that is until Disney, Universal Studios, and the like open up. Luckily, after the state took ownership of the property, they built one of the nicest campgrounds we’ve been to in Florida and kept the glass bottom boat tours going.
The sites at Silver Springs State Park are really nice. While there, we actually discussed that they are ‘close’ to what we would expect Fort Wilderness to look like if it were a state park. They are really that well maintained and clean.
All the sites are level, and a lot of them have some sort of shade. They are spacious but don’t have a lot privacy to them. We got the last loop in the campground, so we didn’t see too much traffic, but there wasn’t much there either way. The ride into the campground is really cool too with a winding and weaving road.
One of the really cool things about Silver Springs State Park is that like Lake Louisa State Park and Blue Springs State Park they have cabins available to rent. Which is really nice if you have non-camper who is traveling with you, or someone who wants to try camping. We didn’t look too much into them, but they seemed well maintained and clean.
There are a ton of things to do both inside and outside the park. First off, right in the camping area there is a yesteryear village, a playground, and an amazing little museum. Both of our kids got a kick out of all three of these, and if your kids like dinosaurs, then they will love the real Woolly Mammoth skeleton in the museum - while not a dinosaur, its big and a skeleton.
One of many buildings in the yesteryear village
One of the cool things about Silver Springs State Park is that it was a theme park / attraction at one point, so there are a lot of things you wouldn’t expect to see. One of them is wild monkeys! Apparently at one point they were an attraction on an island in the springs, but then apparently the owners didn’t know that they could swim! The story goes that about 30 minutes after getting dropped at the island they swam off and have lived in the woods since.
Just a note - these monkeys are wild animals, they might bite you, and could have all sorts of cooties, so keep your distance. This photo was shot with a 200mm lens.
While there is no swimming located in the camping area, or at the park, it has something even cooler - glass bottom boats tours! If your visiting, it’s worth the few bucks to go on it. They are about a half hour for the normal tour and you see all sorts of cool stuff - old movie props, fish, and sunken boats from back when. Our boy’s thought that it was the coolest thing to see underwater without getting wet.
In the rest of the park, there are winding gardens and little shops. There is even a restaurant that offers the normal park food, which is kind of cool. There are a few of the old boats throughout the park which have been converted and are interesting to see.
Outside the parks
Silver Springs State Park is located on the west side of the Ocala National Forest. This means that there are a bunch of other parks to visit, a lot with crystal clear water and swimming. Even simply driving through the National forest is cool and very relaxing. We’ll cover a few more of the things to do in Ocala National Forest in some follow up posts later on. Last, but not least - on FL-40 in the middle of the Forest there is the Snappy Tomato Pizza Co, which has half decent pizza, so on your adventures if you’re hungry it’s a safe option.
Silver Springs State Park is a really nice park to visit and unwind at. There’s enough inside and outside the park to keep you and your family entertained. Best of all if you simply want to relax both the campground and the old theme park offer that too!
Check back later for the continuation of the Ocala National Forest series.
Links to the other posts in the Florida State Park series
- Review of Oscar Scherer
- Blue Springs State Park
- In between trees at Tomoka State Park
- Wekiwa Springs State Park Camping review
- Camping at Lake Louisa State Park
- Silver Springs State Park Camping review
- Hanging out at Lake Kissimmee State Park
- Sebastian Inlet State Park almost beach camping
- Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park camping and star gazing
- Wekiwa Springs State Park Camping Spring 2018 update