established in 1846 ocala is the county seat of marion county florida. the spanish explorer hernando de soto visited the ocala area in 1539. ocala's economy was dominated by the citrus industry until the great freeze of 1894 and 1895. in the early 20th century ocala's silver springs became a major tourist attraction. in the 1950's ocala became a horse breeding area. in 1956 ocala bred Needles won the kentucky derby and in 1978 ocala bred Affirmed won the triple crown. these horses made ocala world famous for horse breeding.
for the tourist ocala offers world famous silver springs, the ocala national forest, numerous horse farms, and a nice downtown historic district.