Silver Springs State Park has become a favorite over the last few visits. Each time, we’ve focused on seeing the park in a different way – by bike, glass-bottom boat, hiking and, yesterday, by paddle board. The park’s history as Florida’s first main tourist attraction as well the the filming sites of Tarzan and Sea Hunt, is intriguing. While there, I think back to Tarzan and Jane, Lloyd Bridges (Mike? in the tv series) and the bathing beauties of the earlt 1900’s lounging by the beach. The main attraction, then and now, are the deep springs, which magically appear in the river bottom – pools of clear, blue water lined with golden sand and teeming with fish, turtles, frogs, water birds and a few alligators here and there.
The grounds are magnificently lush with flowering plants and trees that follow pathways along the river and through the park.
The hiking/biking trail that meanders through the woods, where visitors can hope to see the pack of Rhesus monkeys that live in the park is closed, awaiting clean up from hurricane damage. Evidently, the park closed the boardwalk and the one of the decks last summer due to agressive monkeys. Visitors are prohibited from feeding them and interacting with them, both of which encourage agression. The non-native monkeys were let loose in the park in the 1930’s by a Captain Tooey to encourage tourism and attract guests to his river boat ride. The monkeys below are the group we saw last winter.