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When it is hot and muggy and you have been traveling for five or six hours and you finally get here.... what better way to celebrate than to get a nice cold, drippy ice cream.
Dairy Queen whipped ice cream always satisfies. It goes down smooth and cold (and I always get nose-freeze from eating it too fast). My wife likes hers with chocolate coating or at least chocolate sprinkles. If you need something to drink they have those too.
A couple of dollars per cone and you're a happy camper. (make sure to take a couple of extra napkins, 'cause you're gonna need 'em on a hot day!)
Updated Mar 14, 2007
Address: 5240 East Silver Springs Blvd
Silver Springs still has several cruises that you can take. The Glass Bottomed Boat is one of them which I would have liked to take again. It is primarily to see fish. The water is (or was) really crystal clear. I have an old Red Cross Life Saving book where the photos that they used to illustrate the text were taken at Silver Springs back in the 30s (if I recall correctly).
The other cruise we took was called something like Monkey Jungle. Now there are two other cruises - the Fort King River Cruise which purports to do the history of the area, and the Lost River Voyage which is supposed to be what Florida was like before it was developed. Monkeys of course are not native to Florida, and wouldn't be on either of those cruises.
Updated Jul 23, 2008
The Silver Springs area shows just below average risk on the crime statistics chart for everthing but Rape. Rape in the area is twice as likely as an average city in U.S.A. There are 41 registered sex offenders in Silver Springs district. (see the website below for further details).
Women and families should take appropriate precautions. Children should be supervised; women should not go out late at night alone or into unfamiliar areas. Check with the motel staff to learn if there are regions nearby to be avoided. Use this information to be prepared.
Written Jun 25, 2007
Not only is the park expensive, but there is a fee of $6 just to park.
Unique Suggestions: Do your research first to see if the park attractions are going to be worth it to you.
Fun Alternatives: I would prefer to view fish in a spring by going to Weeki Wachi, which isn't that far from Silver Springs/Ocala.
Updated Jul 23, 2008
Birding is great at Ocala National Forest because of the diversity of the landscape.
Semi-swamps and pine-tree shelters and scrub-brush fields; calm lakes, dark lagoons and small running creeks.
You will be able to see the ever-present cranes and kites. There are a few eagles. Most of the birds are warblers, flycatcher, tanagers, jays.
(caution... there are some bears in the denser parts of the woods. and alligators are in the lagoons and streams.)
The two easiest birding trails to reach are at the Juniper Springs entrance (route 40) and the Salt Springs entrance (junction of routes 314 and 19). There are brochures at the Park Centers at those two locations which show the nature trails.
You can hike the trails or rent canoes and see the shore and wading birds that way also.
The trails and canoe run each take about 3 hours. If you are short of time, there are some feeders in the fields near the entrances and a short mini-trail loop of about one mile. But the better birding is on the longer trails and down the stream.
If you take the canoe, there is a shuttle which will return to the parking area where you started.
to get there: take route 40, 24 miles east of Silver Springs and see signs
Updated Mar 10, 2007