Jason Daniel Shaw
World Famous Glass Bottom Boats at Silver Springs State Park
Silver Springs State Park – Ocala, FL
When traveling to North Central Florida, you have to make time to visit Silver Springs and the world famous glass bottom boats, a popular tourist draw since the 1870’s. This area is the oldest commercial tourist attraction in Florida and served as the setting for many films, including a number of Tarzan movies in the 30’s and 40’s and Creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954. ABC, American Broadcasting Company, owned the park from 1962 to 1984 and in 1993 the land was acquired by the state of Florida. Today, it has been absorbed into the state park system and while many of the “rides” have been closed, the world famous glass bottom boats continue to operate and attract visitors from around the world. Additionally, you can rent kayaks and canoes to explore the Silver River and the wildlife that calls it home.
Visiting Silver Springs Today
Being Amanda’s first time to my hometown of Ocala, FL, we decided to spend the afternoon with my dad and niece enjoying Silver Springs State Park. Admission is only $2.00 per adult (children under 5 are free) so it makes it very affordable for a family and the glass bottom boats are only an additional $11.00 (children under 5 are free). While swimming isn’t currently allowed, you can bring your own kayak/canoe/SUP for $4.00 or rent one at the park ($15.00-50.00) for a self-guided tour of the springs, Silver River and Ocklawaha River. There are also organized guided paddles that you can take part in and Friday through Sunday, there are extended boat tours (90 minutes) that take you all throughout the river. There are also miles of trails that you can explore along with a restaurant to get a bite to eat.
World famous Glass Bottom Boats
The 30-minute glass bottom boat tour is a favorite with the kids as it allows them to get a glimpse of the wildlife that lives beneath the surface of the Silver River without having to worry about getting wet. Everyone boards the specially designed boats and sit around a glass viewing port in the middle of the boat. This window sits below the water line and allows you to see the beautiful world that exists around the springs. The captain narrates your tour around many of the springs and helps to identify the multitude of fish and other wildlife that you encounter along the way.