Last Sunday after church, we changed our clothes, packed some lunch and dinner, and headed up to Silver Springs State Park in Ocala with some friends and their pontoon boat.
Some history on the area:
In the 1820s, the springs became a tourist attraction for adventurous visitors who poled their way along the narrow stream through overhanging cypress and Spanish moss. With the invention of the paddlewheel, Silver River and Springs became a distribution center for Central Florida. Plantations growing vegetables, tobacco and oranges sprang up along the banks as nearby Ocala grew. In the late 1870s, Phillip Morrell fixed a piece of glass in the bottom of a rowboat and a new enterprise began. Silver River's glass-bottom boat tours have been world famous for more than over 100 years.
It was a beautiful, super sun-shiny, slightly cool day, and we were able to see a LOT of different wildlife.
One of the main reasons we drove up to this river and spring was to see the monkeys. Did you know that there are Rhesus monkeys living in Florida? I never knew that. And two different arguments seem to circulate about how they got here. Either way, they were super fun to see.
From Huffington Post:
One popular story says they escaped while Tarzan movies were being filmed here (as were TV shows such as "Sea Hunt" and movies such as "Creature from the Black Lagoon"). Other say nope, no monkeys in the six Tarzan films shot here. Tour boat operator "Colonel Tooey" turned 'em loose on an island in the late 1930s, and the skilled swimmers quickly spread out.
We found this guy chilling in the marshes, and got close for a better look (which means I wanted to get some pictures of him). "Hey alligator! Smile!"
"Oh! Thank you!"
"Ok, really, you can stop smiling at us now..."
"That's better. We'll be going now. Buh bye. Have a nice day..."
We also got to see a little family of dear, (dears?), and that was fun.
Once we got to the springs, the water was SO clear. It was absolutely beautiful.
We had such a great time.
Thank you friends for a wonderful day on your boat! We loved it!