The nice day on Tuesday that Paul used to complete the refinishing project on several of our motor home cabinet doors was followed by a 20º temperature drop and three days of off-and-on rain. That kind of weather certainly isn’t very conducive to sightseeing, and even Freeway seemed content to just sit around the motor home and try to stay warm. Because the floor is so cold, we decided to relax our restriction of not allowing Freeway on the furniture. If not on someone’s lap, the driver’s seat has become his favorite spot in cool weather.
The temperature finally warmed up on Saturday, but the sky remained cloudy with a few more showers. We watched an old movie on TV on Sunday afternoon after church, then we watched the first part of the Super Bowl in the evening. The game was so painful to watch, we stopped watching about halfway through the second quarter and moved on to other programs we had stored on our DVR.
We were so tired of having the weather spoil our sightseeing plans, on Monday we finally decided to go check out Silver Springs in spite of morning fog/clouds and a few stray rain showers passing through the area. Silver Springs is about 50 minutes north of Bushnell just to the east of Ocala.
Silver Springs is another one of those old time tourist attractions Paul visited back in 1956 when he was a kid on vacation with his parents in Florida.
Silver Springs is one of Florida’s oldest tourist attractions. Even before the Civil War, visitors came to see the springs. After the War, visitors arriving in Florida by rail traveled across the state’s rivers by steamboat; and Silver Springs became an important transportation hub and tourist destination.
The springs gained even more in popularity after the invention of a glass-bottom rowboat in the late 1870s. The boat gave visitors a unique view of the springs, and Silver Springs gained national attention.
The land around the spring head changed hands several times. Each new owner made improvements to the boats by adding things like cushioned seats, canopies and gasoline engines.
In the 1970s, Silver Springs was developed into Silver Springs Nature Theme Park. In addition to the glass bottom boats, there were several amusement rides, a concert stage, animal exhibits, a jungle cruise and a water park.
In the 1980s, the state purchased the land around the springs. They leased the land in the immediate area of the spring head back to the op…