Silver Springs, Florida

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Silver Springs, Florida
Silver Springs State Park
Location of Silver Springs, Florida
Location of Silver Springs, Florida
Coordinates: 29°12′59″N 82°3′28″W / 29.21639°N 82.05778°W / 29.21639; -82.05778Coordinates: 29°12′59″N 82°3′28″W / 29.21639°N 82.05778°W / 29.21639; -82.05778
CountryUnited States
CountyMarion County
 • Total6.19 sq mi (16.0 km2)
 • Land6.16 sq mi (16.0 km2)
 • Water0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)
47 ft (14 m)
 • Total2,844
 • Density461.7/sq mi (178.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
34488-34489 (Silver Springs)
34470, 34479 (Ocala)
FIPS code12-66125
GNIS feature ID2805193[3]

Silver Springs is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Marion County of northern Florida. It is the site of Silver Springs, a group of artesian springs and a historic tourist attraction that is now part of Silver Springs State Park. The community is part of the Ocala metropolitan area. It was first listed as a CDP for the 2020 census, at which time it had a population of 2,844.[2]

One of Florida's first tourist attractions, the springs drew visitors even before the U.S. Civil War. Glass-bottom boats have been a popular way to see the 242-acre (98 ha) complex. A small amusement park with various animals, a concert stage, a carousel, and exhibits also developed.


Steamboat and railroad at Silver Springs in 1886

Silver Springs was founded in 1852.[4]

Since the mid-19th century, the natural environment of Silver Springs has attracted visitors from throughout the United States. The glass-bottom boat was invented and tours of the springs began in the late 1870s.[5] In the 1920s, W. Carl Ray and W.M. "Shorty" Davidson, after leasing the land from Ed Carmichael (upon whose death the springs were left to the University of Florida), developed the land around the headwaters of the Silver River into an attraction that eventually became known as Silver Springs Nature Theme Park. The attraction featured native animal exhibits, amusement rides, and 30 or 90-minute glass-bottom boat tours of the springs. The 1934 'Princess Donna' is the oldest and only remaining operational boat from this bygone era. The "Princess Donna' currently operates on the Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Florida. In 2013, the State of Florida took over operations of Silver Springs and combined it with the adjacent Silver River State Park to form the new Silver Springs State Park. The T. W. Randall House on the National Register of Historic Places is located to the northeast.

Several defunct tourist attractions were once located near Silver Springs. The Western-themed Six Gun Territory theme park, which included several attractions such as the Southern Railway & Six Gun 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge[6] railroad, operated from 1963 to 1984. The Wild Waters water park also existed in Silver Springs and operated from 1978 to 2016.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

Silver Springs was "whites only" until 1967. From 1949 to 1969, African Americans were served by nearby Paradise Park, Florida, which closed when Silver Springs integrated racially.

Cattle ranch development[edit]

Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach has been building the Adena Springs Ranch for cattle, an abattoir, residential property development, and a thoroughbred horse farm in the area, stirring concern over plans for water use and how groundwater draw will affect the springs.[13][14]


Silver Springs is in central Marion County and is bordered to the southwest by the city of Ocala, the county seat. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Silver Springs CDP has a total area of 6.2 square miles (16 km2), of which 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2), or 0.50%, are water.[1] The springs, in the center of the community, flow out to form the Silver River, which runs 4 miles (6 km) east to the Ocklawaha River.


The main road through Silver Springs is State Road 40 which runs east and west from Rainbow Lakes Estates to Ormond Beach in Volusia County. State Road 326 terminates at SR 40, as does State Road 35, which becomes County Road 35 north of SR 40 before terminating at SR 326. County Roads 314 and 314A are also important north-south county roads that run west and into the Ocala National Forest.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "2022 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Florida". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "P1. Race – Silver Springs CDP, Florida: 2020 DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  3. ^ "Silver Springs Census Designated Place". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  4. ^ "Marion County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  5. ^ Griffin, Steve (2 September 2013). "Glass-bottom boats, history and monkeys in Silver Springs". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Surviving Steam Locomotive Search". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  7. ^ Bevil, Dewayne. "Silver Springs looks back at its 'Sea Hunt' days". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  8. ^ VANHOOSE, JOE (2008-05-23). "Silver Springs marks 'Sea Hunt' anniversary - underwater - STAR-BANNER". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  9. ^ Alec Peirce Scuba (27 April 2017). "Sea Hunt Remembered: Silver Springs, Florida - S02E11". Retrieved 26 May 2017 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "Sea Hunt (TV Series 1958–1961)". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Now Endangered, Florida's Silver Springs Once Lured Tourists". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  12. ^ Florida, State Library and Archives of. "Shipwreck used during filming of the TV show "Seahunt" - Silver Springs, Florida". Florida Memory. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  13. ^ Joe Callahan Billionaire makes big donation to Fort McCoy School September 28, 2011
  14. ^ Nathan Crabbe Water-issue protesters greet UF's Stronach center dedication May 15, 2012 Gainesville Sun

External links[edit]