Saturday, March 11, 2017

Florida's First Tourist Attraction

Before Orlando's Disney World was ever built, there was Silver Springs Park, Florida's first tourist attraction.

Ever since its opening in 1878, millions of tourists have visited this place and climbed aboard its glass-bottomed boats for a glimpse of its crystal clear springs and the fish, turtles and alligators within its environs.  Now that number includes Tim and I.

Where once there was an amusement park and a reptile farm with two albino alligators, now this state park hosts a number of hiking trails, 

a museum, an environmental education center, a campground and 

a grassy amphitheater that hosts nationally recognized names and local talents.   

It's a poplar place for kayakers.

Still, the glass-bottomed boats remain.  And with good cause!

Silver Springs' translucent waters are so stunning that it became a favorite location with Hollywood's movie and television producers.  

Sea Hunt, the television series airing from 1958 to 1961 starring Lloyd Bridges, was filmed here as were countless movies.  During the 1930s and early 1940s, one might have encountered Tarzan (or rather Johnny Weissmuller who portrayed the Ape Man) within the park.  Five of the original Tarzan movies were made here.  

Scientists tried to capture the Creature from the Black Lagoon from its waters in the 1954 eponymous movie.

Best of all, the park retains its charm of an earlier age.  For a view of natural Florida the way it used to be, a stop at Silver Springs cannot be missed.

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