Monday, September 25, 2006
I was twelve years old when I first rode the Glass Bottom Boats at Silver Springs, near Ocala, Florida. "Creature from the Black Lagoon" was fresh in my mind as I scanned the water for any sign that the movie filmed there might be real.
Now that I'm a little older, the visit had me wondering if the experience would still be as exciting. It was. Today Silver Springs is a wonderful blend of the old and the new. Signs of progress mixed with nostalgia from over one-hundred years of greeting guests gives Silver Springs a great feel and lots to do.
The Glass bottom boats are still there and you can also explore other parts of the river on two narrated boat rides. One of my favorite experiences was feeding the giraffe near the petting zoo.
You get what looks like graham crackers to hold up until the giraffe's foot long black tongue snakes out and wraps around the wafer. Sweet.
Silver Springs has been a tourist attraction for a long time and some may consider it old-fashioned. No, it's not laser tag and roller coasters but that's part of it's charm. The combination of animals, rides and shows in a beautiful Old Florida setting was very appealing to me and I got a big charge out of the history. So many famous movies and television shows were shot there that it's hard to keep track. Tarzan, James Bond, Sea Hunt, I Spy. The list is endless. I was also surprised to see the names on their concert series list. Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and Ronnie Milsap among others were featured. Don't miss the Jeep Safari near the bears at the back of the gift shop. Bouncy and fun. Had a good sandwich at the Deli, too.
All in all, very relaxing, lots to do in a natural environment which appeals to kids and adults.
The "Original Florida Tourist Attraction" I remember from my childhood is still going strong. I'm not sure but when I was looking down in the clear water, I thought I saw something large and dark move at the bottom near a cave. Maybe, just maybe.