Favorite thing: A long time ago - before DisneyWorld corrupted central Florida - there were some wonderful tourist attractions. Silver Springs was one of them. Ever since Hullam Jones put a window in a canoe in 1878, people have been marveling at what they could see in the crystal clear water there.
Phillip Morell built a glass-bottomed rowboat and sold rides above the springs. In the 1890s, commercial glass bottom boats were developed and the comfort of the glass bottom boats was improved by installing cushioned seats and canopies. In 1925 they were equipped with gasoline engines and then later with electric motors.
According to their website timeline:
"Early in the 1930s, Ross Allen, noted herpetologist, founded the Silver Springs Reptile Institute. Allen pioneered many forms of snake anti venom, including a dried variety. He also imported and supplied venoms for medical purposes and biochemical research. Colonel Tooey, a concessionaire who operated the Jungle Cruise boat ride, established the first troop of wild rhesus monkeys on an island in the Silver River. Tooey established the colony to attract visitors to his ride. He did not realize the rhesus monkeys were excellent swimmers. They quickly escaped, forming wild troops along the river."
1932-1942 Six of the original Tarzan movies, starring Johnny Weissmuller, were filmed on location at Silver Springs. Also the American Red Cross did the photographs for their life saving and WSI textbooks here.
1958-1961 More than 100 episodes of "Sea Hunt," starring Lloyd Bridges, were filmed at Silver Springs.
Fondest memory: We visited the springs in 1954 when I was 16, and rode the glass bottomed boats. We also visited again when we lived in Key West. I took some slides with my film camera. I really wanted to see the springs again and see if they lived up to my memories and maybe take some better pictures for VT. I was hoping I could get a ticket just for the glass bottomed boat trip for less than the $32 that was advertised in my AAA book.
But as we drove into the park, I was totally turned off by the $6 parking fee that would be assessed - I just wanted a boat trip, I didn't want a theme park experience or to go swimming or to do Wild Waters or anything else. So we turned around and left.
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Go ahead and be Mesmerized
Favorite thing: If there is one word I can use to describe Silver Springs it is mesmerizing.. I just remember being mesmerized by the Grizzlies ,but for some crazy reason I remember George being totally captivated by this fountain of all things.We actually had to pull him away so we could enter the park. He was captivated by the motion of the water. Something which has helped him in sports as well as his artistic endeavors.The glass bottom boats and actually seeing the springs feeding the river all mesmerizing.. This is a good theme park..Many parks in Florida have more but this park will capture your brain for a few hours..
Fondest memory: The Grizzlies and watching George for the first time hypnotized by a simple thing like a fountain. You could actually see the springs feeding the water into Silver Springs.. which to me was more unusual than the several spieces of fish you could see from the glass bottom boats..
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