TBT Lesson: #60

With the news this week of the St. John’s River Management District permitting Sleepy Creek to make a daily withdrawal of 1.4 million gallons of water from the aquifer for a cattle ranching operation despite the warning from scientists that its impact will be detrimental to Silver Springs, the Silver River and the Ocklawaha River, this picture of John (the cute boy with his hand on the center rail) and his mother riding the glass bottom boat at Silver Springs in the early 1960s seems appropriate.

He and I both remember cruising upriver in the glass bottom boats amazed by the crystal clear water, gushing springs and abundant fish. Despite the 30% reduction in water flow and many fewer fish in the spring and river, Silver Springs is still a natural treasure, but you can only wonder how much longer that will continue.



TBT Lesson #60: Visit Silver Springs and take a ride in the glass bottom boat before it’s too late (and if they still take these group photos…buy one.)

54 Ways to Celebrate Florida!

On this date, March 3rd, in 1845, Florida entered the union as the 27th state. That sounds like reason for celebration. Make March celebrate Florida month. Can you complete ten of these Florida friendly tasks this month?

Visit a Florida State Park

Go to the beach

Wear sunblock

Eat key lime pie

Listen to the music of Floridians like Lynard Skynard, Mel Tillis, Tom Petty, Ray Charles, or Gloria Estefan.

Read a Carl Haisaan book

Eat a Cheeseburger in Paradise

Go fishing

Place a bet on the “ponies” at the Florida Derby at Gulfstream.

Wear flip flops

Travel by boat

Visit the “Ancient City” of St. Augustine

Swim with the manatee



Drink a glass of orange juice

Eat shrimp

Visit a Florida spring

Ride a bike trail

Paddle a canoe or kayak


Register to vote (or update your registration)

Visit a tacky tourist trap


Eat a Cuban sandwich

Sip a frozen tropical drink


Take a hike


Visit a botanical garden

Tour a fort

Take an airboat ride

Drink from the Fountain of Youth

Play golf

Watch a Major League Baseball Grapefruit League spring training game

Enjoy to a festival

Go to Ron Jon

Explore the Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center

Drive on Daytona Beach

Eat gator

Smoke a cigar from Ybor City

Collect seashells

Climb a lighthouse

Ride a glass bottom boat


Experience bike week in Daytona

Eat sugarcane

Sleep in a chickee

Collect sharks teeth

Treasure hunt

Drive the overseas highway

Ferry to the Dry Tortugas

Sing the state song while on the Swanee River


Get LOST on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST)

Drive Spook Hill

Whale watch from Gamble Rogers State Park

Crack a coconut

Leave a comment and let me know what I forgot, but don’t forget to celebrate Florida! And don’t forget to take pictures!










Silver Springs State Park

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.


Silver Springs – Florida’s Newest State Park

Today Silver Springs officially joins the Florida State Park system. In fact, if you go to the Florida State Park website you’ll find that the Silver River State Park is now the Silver Springs State Park. The campground, cabins, bike and hiking trails, canoe and kayaking launch and rentals, and horseback trails located at the Silver River park have joined with the former Silver Springs attraction to create an incredible state park for those interested in the natural beauty of real Florida.

The famous glass bottom boats will continue to usher guests over the headwaters of the spring, but for the first time canoes and kayaks can be launched from the spring as well.IMG_0783

On Saturday we attended a celebration at the park in which Clyde Butcher, Florida’s Ansel Adams, shared his photographs of the rivers, springs, and natural areas in north central Florida as well as his passion for the restoration and preservation of Florida’s environment. Since the event was held at the Silver River State Park museum, the guests were able to view the exhibits that chronicle the history of Silver Springs and anticipate the return of the glory days of the park now that it will be in the care of the Florida State Parks.

Best of all, the admission starting today is more affordable to both residents and tourists at $8 for a car with as many as 8 passengers or $2 for walkers or bicyclists. The park can be accessed on the State Road 40 entrance as well as the former entrance to the Silver River State Park on County Road 35. I’m looking forward to spending more time at Florida’s newest park!