Silver Springs State Park and the Silver River - Ocala, Florida
Silver Springs
The head of Florida's stunning Silver River, Silver
Springs has been a major attraction of the Ocala
area since the 1800s.
Spring in the Silver River
Crystal clear water flows from a
spring in Florida's beautiful Silver
River
. It is one of the state's
natural wonders.
Silver Springs State Park
Glass-bottomed boats and
kayaks glide side by side over
the surface of Silver Springs in
Ocala, Florida.
Silver Springs State Parkk
The crystal clear river that flows
from Silver Springs
is a major
eco-tourism destination in the
Ocala area.
SILVER SPRINGS STATE PARK
Ocala, Florida
Florida's Most Famous Spring
Silver River Area
Part of the beautiful park complex
encompasses the river itself. The
Silver River part of Silver Springs
State Park offers a museum,
hiking trails, canoe access,
cabins, camping and a historic
farm complex.
Copyright 2010, 2013 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: June 30, 2014
One of the largest artesian springs ever
discovered, Silver Springs is the primary
source of Florida's stunning Silver River. The
spring and river are located on the outskirts
of Ocala, Florida, and have been popular
attractions since the 19th century.

The main spring at Silver Springs produces
around 550 million gallons of water a day
and is noted both for its depth and crystal
clarity. It is actually one of a series of springs
that feed the Silver River, which is itself a
tributary of the Ocklawaha and through it of
the St. Johns.

The main or Mammoth Spring is the center of
one of Florida's newest state parks. It still
offers the glass bottom boat tours for which
SIlver Springs as famous and is the focus of
a $20 million restoration project.

According to the St. Johns River Water
Management District, the water is 30 feet
deep at the point the main vent opens into
the bottom of the spring pool. The water
pouring from this and a second vent at the
main pool is clear and cold and comes from
an extensive cave system.

At least 24 other springs join with the main
one in feeding the Silver River. Many of these
can be found along the river as it flows
through Silver River State Park, a beautiful
5,000 acre preserve that adjoins Silver
Springs.

Silver Springs and the Silver River have been
a focal point of Florida history for centuries.
When the Spanish explorer Hernando de
Soto moved up the Florida peninsula in
1539, this was the territory of the Ocale (or
Ocali) chiefdom. These people were part of a
larger group known today as the Timucuan
Indians. Later served by Franciscan friars
who made their way into the wilds from St.
Augustine, the Timucuan were all but wiped
out in English-led Creek raids during the
1700s.

The region left vacant by the Timucuans was
soon occupied by groups of Indians that
moved down from the Creek Nation in search
of more freedom and space in Florida. They
eventually became known as the Seminole
people and Silver Springs was at the center
of a network of important Seminole towns
and villages spread across the area.

Fort King was built nearby in 1827 and the
region was plunged in blood in 1835 when
Osceola and other warriors launched the
Second Seminole War in a desperate effort
to prevent the removal of their people to new
lands in what is now Oklahoma.

The Seminole War dragged to a close in
1842 and settlers drifted into the Silver River
area, occupying old fields once farmed by the
Indians. A preserved pioneer homestead can
be seen at the
Silver River area of the park.
Silver Springs was described in glowing
terms in a widely read magazine article in
1870 and it was not long before tourists
flooded into Ocala to see the natural wonder.
Paddlewheel steamboats made their way up
the Silver River to the main spring and in the
1880s railroad cars began bringing even
more tourists. Silver Springs and the Silver
River have been tourist attractions ever since.

Silver Springs has also been popular with
Hollywood. Among the 20 movies filmed in
part there are
Rebel Without A Cause, the
James Bond film
Moonraker  and Distant
Drums
starring Gary Cooper.

Silver Springs State Park officially opened to
the public on October 1, 2013. It is open daily
from 8 a.m. until sunset. Admission is $5 for
vehicles carrying only one person and $8 for
vehicles carrying up to 8 people.

The former
Silver River State Park is now part
of Silver Springs State Park. This section of
the park is also open from 8 a.m. until sunset
and the entry fee covers admission to both
parts of the new park.

The entrance to Silver Springs is located just
east of Ocala on State Road 40. The gate to
the Silver River area of the park is on State
Road 35, one mile south of State Road 40.
Please click here for more information.
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