It’s official. Silver Springs is the newest Florida State Park and last week I made my first visit. It was both exciting and disappointing.
Exciting to be charged only $8 per car or $5 for a single person instead of an $8 parking fee in addition to the $30+ admission price of the former theme park. Exciting to see canoes and kayaks launching from the park. Exciting to eat a picnic lunch at the tables overlooking the spring. Exciting to watch the glass bottom boats continuing to cruise through the spring.
Disappointing that much of the park is blocked off and not accessible to the public. Disappointing to see how dilapidated the park has become…buildings, fences, former attractions literally falling apart. Disappointing that the ice cream parlor isn’t open since enjoying an ice cream cone while rocking and watching the glass bottom boats was a favorite activity at the park.
However, despite the many disappointments, I’m optimistic about the future of Silver Springs State Park. We spoke to Marty in the restaurant and she told us of the plans to expand the menu and add an ice cream parlor. We met the young man working the canoe and kayak rentals, and he told us of their goals to increase their services.
I need to be patient. The park had only come under state control about two weeks before our visit. It’s going to take some time to bring Silver Springs back to the popular attraction of yesteryear.