Silver River Area of Silver Springs State Park - Ocala, Florida
Silver River Area of Silver Springs State Park - Ocala, Florida
Silver River State Park
The park takes its name from Florida's beautiful
Silver River. Fed by crystal clear natural springs, the
river is a historical and ecological treasure.
Silver River State Park
A restored cabin and other
buildings form a small
historical village at the park in
Ocala, Florida.
Silver River Museum
A project of the local school
system, the Silver River
Museum features beautifully
designed exhibits.
One Room School
A preserved schoolhouse is
among the outdoor exhibits at
Silver River State Park.
Silver River Area of Silver Springs State Park - Ocala, Florida
Preserving Florida's Heritage
Historic House at Silver River
The park features a number
of historic structures that
recreate life in the Florida of
100 years ago.
Copyright 2010 & 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: September 30, 2013
Opened in 1987 on 5,000 acres along one of
the most beautiful rivers in the South, the
Silver River area of Silver Springs State Park
preserves a stunning and ecologically
sensitive environment on the outskirts of
Ocala, Florida.

A beautiful river fed by at least 25 springs, the
Silver River appeared on the earliest maps of
the interior of Central Florida. The largest of
these is
Silver Springs, located adjacent to
the park. Combined they produce a river that
is crystal clear and rich in wildlife, birds and
plant life.

Because it has long attracted visitors, the
area now encompassed by Silver River State
Park is also rich in history. This was near the
center of the Seminole Nation during the
turbulent years of the 1830s. The famed
warrior Osceola and others hunted and
fished in this area and it was at nearby
King (now Ocala) that the confrontation grew
between Osceola and Indian Agent Wiley
Thompson that would lead to the Second
Seminole War (1835-1842).

After it was described in glowing terms in a
magazine article in 1870, Silver Springs
became a "must see" destination for tourists
who had already started to flood south into
the Sunshine State. Paddlewheel riverboats
brought them in style, churning their way up
the St. Johns and Ocklawaha Rivers to the
Silver River. They passed up and down the
beautiful stream, taking their passengers to
Silver Springs itself.

Farms then operated along the Silver River,
growing tobacco, oranges and other crops.
An example of one of these is preserved
today at the park, where visitors can explore a
"Cracker Homestead" featuring a house,
barns, church and other buildings. The term
"Florida Cracker" originated because these
early farmers could often be seen cracking
their whips over the teams of oxen that pulled
their carts and plows.

In around 1870 a local innovator came up
with the idea of putting a piece of glass in the
bottom of a boat so visitors could look down
into the springs. The local glass-bottomed
boat industry was born and continues today
at Silver Springs. A preserved example of an
early glass-bottomed boat can be seen at the

The park also preserves a restored one-
room schoolhouse, a reminder of the days
after 1885 when public education became a
mainstay of life in Florida and small schools
were built across the state to accommodate
the needs of rural students. The invention of
school buses later let to the closing of these
charming little schools and the construction
of larger central schools to which students
were bused.
The park is also home to the extremely nice
Silver River Museum, a joint project of the
Florida Park Service and the Marion County
School District. (
Please click here to learn

The museum is open to the general public
on Saturdays and Sundays and features a
beautiful array of exhibits interpreting the
prehistory and history of Florida. From the
skeleton of a gigantic mastodon to Spanish
and Confederate cannon, the variety of
artifacts on display is really amazing. There
is an extra $2 fee to visit the museum.

Silver Springs State Park is, of course, a
major ecotourism destination. It offers miles
of trails that are open for both biking and
hiking, a campground, picnic areas,
equestrian (horse) trails, cabins, a launch for
canoe and kayak enthusiasts (rentals are $5,
first come, first served) and 5,000 acres of
wildlife habitat. Animals in the park range
from the gopher tortoise to Florida black
Please click here to visit the park's
official website for more information.

The park entrance is on S.R. 35, one mile
south of S.R. 40 and Silver Springs. Entry fee
is $8 per car ($5 if only one person). The fee
covers entry to both the Silver River area and
Silver Springs.
State Parks in Central Florida