Silver River Museum in Ocala, Florida
Silver River Museum in Ocala, Florida
|Silver River Museum
The museum is located at Silver River State Park in
Ocala, Florida, and is open to the public on
weekends and holidays.
Silver River Museum
A Spanish cannon is among
the artifacts on display at
Silver River Museum in Ocala,
A Mission Bell
The Silver River Museum
allows visitors to walk through
the history of the Ocala area,
while seeing artifacts like this.
Cannon of a Swamp Fox
This small howitzer was used
by the men of Captain J.J.
Dickson, Florida's "Swamp
Fox," during the Civil War.
Silver River Museum - Ocala, Florida
A Fascinating Walk into History
Preserved Dugout Canoe
The Silver River Museum has
a stunning array of artifacts,
including this beautifully
preserved dugout canoe.
|Copyright 2010 & 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: September 30, 2013
The Silver River Museum & Environmental
Education Center in Ocala, Florida, is one of
the most unique and noteworthy educational
projects of any school system in America.
Located in Silver River area of Silver Springs
State Park, the museum opened to the public
in 1991 and is a joint project of the Marion
County School System and the Florida Park
Service. It gives both students and visitors a
place to learn more about Florida's cultural
and natural history.
The artifacts on display and the exhibits that
trace Florida history from its earliest days are
absolutely fascinating. In the main gallery, for
example, there is a massive mammoth (a
gigantic wooly elephant-like creature that is
now extinct) that is thousands of years old.
There is the skull of a saber-tooth tiger and
the jaws of a Megalodon or now-extinct
gigantic shark that grew to a length of 65-feet.
Displays provide a chance to examine some
of the oldest points, arrowheads and other
human artifacts found in Florida. The exhibits
trace Native American life in the state from
the arrival of the first prehistoric hunters to
the Seminole Wars.
Among the unique artifacts to be seen are
silver coins, a mission bell and other relics
left behind by early Spanish explorers and
missionaries. There is a cannon from a
Spanish ship and an unusual bead that may
have been given to a local Indian leader by
the soldiers of Hernando de Soto's army in
A large exhibit displays artifacts from the
nearby site of Fort King, an important U.S.
Army post that stood on the site of Ocala from
1827-1843. These include military buttons,
bullets, bottles and more. The exhibit also
includes a scale model of the fort, which
played a critical role in the outbreak of the
Second Seminole War.
A small bronze cannon believed to have been
used by the command of Captain J.J.
Dickison sits in a nearby display case that
includes other Civil War artifacts. Dickison
was known as the "Swamp Fox" of the
Confederacy because his small force of
Southern cavalrymen operated much as their
ancestors had done in the days of Francis
Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the American
There is a large dugout canoe and paddle
and one display even features a standoff
between a crocodile and alligator (frozen in
time by a taxidermist) that once confronted
each other at nearby Silver Springs. Exhibits
trace the development of tourism in the local
area and display artifacts from the early days
Just outside the museum is a beautifully
preserved "Cracker Homestead." Made up of
a house, cabin, barns and other structures,
this homestead helps visitors and students
learn more about the life of the early "Florida
These tough pioneers made their homes in
the pine woods of the state and earned their
name because of the long whips they
"cracked" over their oxen as they pulled carts
and wagons along the sandy trails of the
The homestead includes a "Cracker
Cowboy" shelter that interprets Florida's rich
history as a cattle producing state. Nearby
stands a preserved one-room school and an
outdoor shelter covering a glass-bottomed
boat once used just upstream at Silver
The surrounding park covers 5,000 acres
and features hiking trails, the beautiful Silver
River itself, camping areas, picnic areas,
cabins and more.
Silver River Museum is located in the Silver
River area of Silver Springs State Park, which
is one mile south of State Road 40 on County
Road 35 (1445 NW 58th Avenue). Click here
for more information.
The museum is open weekends from 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m. Admission is $2 plus park entry.
Great Florida Museums