Saturday, November 6, 2010

Silver Springs & the Silver River - Ocala, Florida

One of the most beautiful places in the South, Silver Springs is a massive natural spring on the outskirts of Ocala, Florida.

Along with 24 other springs, the main or Mammoth Spring at Silver Springs feed the crystal clear Silver River, which is beautifully preserved in its natural condition thanks to the opening in 1987 of Silver River State Park. Silver Springs is also now owned by the State of Florida, but is operated as a theme park by an entertainment company which leases it from the state.

The main spring has been featured in 20 movies over the years, including such famous ones as Rebel Without a Cause and the popular James Bond film Moonraker. Pouring out an estimated 550 million gallons of water a day, Silver Springs has long been one of Florida's most famous tourist attractions. Untold hundreds of thousands have peered into its depths from glass-bottomed boats since they became a fixture there in the 1870s.

The water from the spring is joined by water from 24 other springs to form the Silver River, a major tributary of Florida's Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers. Virtually the entire length of the stream is now preserved in Silver River State Park, which provides the general public with affordable access to the beautiful river and the unique ecosystems that surround it.

This area was a key point of ignition for the Second Seminole War, in which the warriors of Florida's Seminole Nation waged desperate resistance against the U.S. Army in an effort to avoid removal west to what is now Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. The war started in 1835 at Fort King (now Ocala) when the famed Seminole warrior Osceola led an attack on U.S. Indian Agent Wiley Thompson. It would last for seven years and and considering the budget of the Federal government at the time, was one of the costliest wars ever waged by the United States.

To learn more about Silver Springs and the Silver River, as well as other places of interest in the vicinity, please visit

No comments: