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Silver River State Park
IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
Location Marion County, Florida, USA
Nearest city Silver Springs
Area 5,000 acres (20 km2) (20 km²)
Governing body Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Silver River State Park is a nearly 5,000 acre (20 km²) Florida State Park east of Ocala. Adjacent to Silver Springs and the Ocklawaha River, the park is a mile south of State Road 40 on State Road 35 (also known as Baseline Road).

Contents

Ecology

Among the wildlife of the park are armadillos, deer, boar, turkey, foxes, alligators, Sherman fox squirrels and gopher tortoises, as well as coyote, bobcat and Florida black bear.

There is also a colony of non-native rhesus monkeys which were introduced to the park in early 1938 by a tour boat operator, known locally as "Colonel Tooey," to enhance his "Jungle Cruise" ride. A local legend that they are the descendants of monkeys used to enhance the scenery for the Tarzan movies that were shot in the area in the 1930s is not true.

Recreational activities and amenities

Activities include bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Amenities include a "cracker village" and a museum and an environmental center that are open on weekends. The park has 15 miles (24 km) of trails, access to the Silver River, ten luxury cabins, and a 59 site, full facility campground.

Silver Springs Nature Theme Park with its glass-bottomed boats is located on the property of the park, but is run by a private company.

There is a Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center with educational facilities, run by the Marion County Public School System in cooperation with the Florida Park Service. The Center has a village of restored or "newly-built" 19th century farm buildings (houses, meeting house, sheds, blacksmith, etc.) and a museum on the natural and social history of the area. Used during the week by the school district for classes, on the weekends it is open to the public. One week, early in November, the Center also puts on the Ocali County Days as a fund raiser. This is a 19th century, living history event with displays, talks, and performances incorporating living historians. For that Tuesday through Friday it is open to public, private and home school-age children and their teachers who have made reservations with the Center. The event is open to the general public on Saturday and Sunday and has become a popular annual attraction in the area[1].

History

Silver River, from within the park

The area that comprises the state park was purchased by the state in 1985 to maintain the natural environment of the area in the face of booming real estate development. The Silver River runs through the center of this 5,000-acre (20 km2) park. The spring head is still run by the private company "Silver Springs Nature Theme Park" but the rest of the entire 5 1/2 mile spring run is completely pristine and undeveloped.

Hours

The park is open from 8:00 am till sundown year round. The gate remains open until 10:00 p.m. on Fridays for campers.

References

  1. ^ Ocali Country Days "Web site". Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center. http://www.marion.k12.fl.us/district/srm/ocali.cfm Ocali Country Days. Retrieved 2008-10-30.  

External links

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