I’m looking forward to the new state park at Silver Springs. As a child, my family visited Silver Springs on a family vacation to the Sunshine State. In fact, I still have the photo we purchased of my family on the Jungle Cruise (funny how I remembered it as the Glass Bottom Boat). Parents, brother, sister, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins all visiting the park together. I also found a picture of John’s family taken on the Glass Bottom Boat at Silver Springs. Both pictures were taken in the 1960s at a time when the park was famous not only for its crystal clear water and glass bottom boats, but for the television shows and movies filmed on the river.
Over the years we’ve visited and taken our children to the park and even swam in the springs one summer in the 1990s. Yearly passes provided fun days on the river, strolling through the park, and eating ice cream while sitting in rocking chairs overlooking the water, but recent years haven’t been good to the park. Overpriced admission. Short hours. Unpredictable schedule. The result…too few visitors to enable the management company to properly maintain the facility.
Joining the Florida State Park system provides an opportunity to bring back the park as an attraction noted for its natural beauty. Concentrating on hiking and bicycling trails, canoeing and kayaking, and restoring the park as an environmentally friendly facility is something to celebrate. Let’s hope that next year at this time, as we celebrate Earth Day 2014, the state park at Silver Springs is on the way to recovery as a place focused on the real Florida.