Silver Springs, Florida
Timucuan Indians settled around Silver Springs in the early 1500s. They were soon invaded by the Spaniards and eventually succeeded by Seminole Indians. The Seminoles, led by Chief Osceola, eventually retreated to southern swamps when pressed by the US Government in 1835. By the 1850’s, barges carried cotton, lumber and nonperishables up the river to the growing community of Ocala.
Paddlewheel steamboats made their way up the Silver River to the main spring and in the 1880s railroad cars began bringing even
more tourists. Silver Springs and the Silver River have been tourist attractions ever since. In addition, the spring’s crystalline water has provided the perfect underwater backdrop for many Hollywood films and television programs including six Tarzan films, Seahunt, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, The Discovery Channel and many others.
Silver Springs, will become a state park in October, following $4 million in changes that will remove exotic animals and amusement rides.
Its famous glass-bottom boat rides, which started there in 1878, and the popular concert series will remain, but several exhibits and structures will be dismantled to convert the attraction into a more natural park. The park will remain open during the transition.