Silver Springs State Park in Florida - Tarzan Movies Setting - WanderWisdom - Travel
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Silver Springs State Park in Florida - Tarzan Movies Setting

The southern states have a charm all their own. From beaches to deserts, there is a wide array of landscapes to please almost anyone!

Beautiful Silver Springs in Florida

Beautiful Silver Springs in Florida

Silver Springs, Florida

The north-central part of Florida is home to a must-see attraction—the lush and tropical Silver Springs. The grounds include the filming location of many of the original Tarzan movies and more.

You are cordially invited to join us during the day we spent at this lovely Florida tourist attraction.

The year was 1990, and my mother, niece, and I had just spent five fun-filled summer days at Walt Disney World. What an experience!

We were now to visit a wonderful lady who resided in Crystal River, Florida. We became her house guests for a three-day visit. Part of what our hostess had planned during our stay was a visit to Silver Springs. We became forever grateful to her for introducing us to that most splendid of Florida tourist attractions.

George DeBenedicty with leading Sire Leroidesanimaux at Stonewall Farm in Ocala, FL.

George DeBenedicty with leading Sire Leroidesanimaux at Stonewall Farm in Ocala, FL.

Horse Farms

Driving from Crystal River and approaching Ocala on our way to Silver Springs, we passed numerous horse farms. Silver Springs is actually a part of the Ocala metropolitan area.

The beautifully painted white fences with thoroughbred horses grazing and frolicking on the verdant pastures is a resplendent sight. Horse farming is a major industry in that part of Florida with approximately 1,200 horse farms in existence. Ocala is listed as the "horse capital of the world."

Much more was to capture our attention on that fine June day and all of it had to do with Silver Springs.

The location of Silver Springs in the north-central part of Florida

The location of Silver Springs in the north-central part of Florida

Silver Springs

About five miles east of the City of Ocala lies the tropical splendor of Silver Springs. It consists of a 350 acre theme park which for the most part showcases one of Florida's oldest and stunning natural attractions. Nature created these crystal clear waters and this is one of the world's largest artisan spring formations.

  • There are seven major springs at the headwaters of the Silver River which pump out 73,500,000 cubic feet of fresh water (2,080,000 cubic meters) on a daily basis. To put it in perspective this amount of water would be enough to supply a large city like New York for all of its daily water consumption uses.
  • This spring water is filtered through native limestone and is 99.8% pure - all 550 million gallons of it.
  • A constant temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit (or 23 degrees Celsius) adds to the tropical nature and enjoyment of this special place for people and animals alike.

It is no wonder that this has been the chosen location for so many filmmakers as well as television producers over the years. Over 200 movies and television shows have been produced here, putting this setting to good use. Some of the movies filmed here include the following:

  • Tarzan
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • Thunderball
  • Moonraker plus others.

A lush natural water environment with tall cypress trees and other luxuriant foliage help create a jungle-like setting. There are also beautifully landscaped grounds with cultivated botanical gardens on site which some people choose to utilize for wedding photos and similar purposes.

Movie Legends - Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan

Glass-Bottomed Boats

The glass-bottomed boats began operating here in Silver Springs back in the late 1870s. Innovative entrepreneurs realized that this crystal clear water provided a chance for them to introduce the sights beneath the water's surface to individuals who might never have been inclined to don a scuba suit and see similar things for themselves via that method of exploration.

Boats were constructed with clear glass bottoms. People are seated around the exterior sides of the boat looking in towards the center. This arrangement enables tourists to be able to look straight down the center of the boat to the bottom of the river and view the aquatic plants, fish, turtles and everything else that exists in the water moving beneath them.

The tops of the boats protect people from inclement weather while also providing shade.

An amazing sight awaits those who are able to peer through those translucent waters and visualize the openings in the river floor where the spring water emanates from deep within the earth bubbling to the surface. The depth of the river bottom varies but the water remains sparkling clear no matter how deep is the riverbed beneath one.

Our hostess and the three of us enjoyed this glass bottomed boat ride and everything that we were able to view while on the watercraft.

The captains of each vessel are all Coast Guard certified and offer a running commentary on statistics of what we are getting to view. Also pointed out are impromptu sightings of birds, alligators in the wild or animals seen on the shore as the boats move through their paces.

Never before have we gotten to see such shimmering colors of fish or the effects of glancing rays of sunlight slicing through the crystalline waters with such great effect.

At times we saw clusters of an aquatic plant called water lettuce. Yellow hued in color it drifts and floats freely through the water deriving sustenance via a four to six foot root system.

Petting Zoo

Silver Springs also sports a large petting zoo which keeps children and adults equally entertained. Stacks of rye crisp crackers can be purchased at dispensers positioned in this part of the Silver Springs park and it is allowed to hand feed the animals.

Some of the animals one will encounter include the following:

  • Goats
  • Turkeys
  • Sheep
  • Rabbits
  • Donkeys
  • Giraffes and other animals as well.

We all took turns feeding the animals. An insistent goat kept bleating and begging my mother for special attention. Naturally, he got the majority of her crackers. It is fun watching the interaction of children and adults with the animals in this part of the park.

Sea Hunt episodes shot here in Silver Springs, Florida

Sea Hunt episodes shot here in Silver Springs, Florida

Sea Hunt

Do you remember the television series Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges? We were surprised to learn that it was shot on location in Silver Springs.

Not all of the films shot at Silver Springs were for entertainment. Many scientific films have been produced, and training films for the army, navy, and marine corps were made at Silver Springs to prepare young men to survive in jungle warfare during World War II.

In more recent years television production crews have been beating a path to Silver Springs. Producer Ivan Tors and his company have made many trips to the Springs to film the popular television series, "Sea Hunt", starring Lloyd Bridges. The underwater portions of more than 200 episodes of "Sea Hunt" were filmed right here at Silver Springs. The area in which you are standing now was used as Lloyd Bridges headquarters while filming here.

Even though most of the episodes dealt with the sea, many of the underwater portions were shot right here in the main spring and in the river without interfering with our Glass Bottom Boats passing overhead.

This series ran for many years here in the United States and is still running in many other countries throughout the world."

Part of a Sea Hunt Episode

Wildlife

One can enjoy seeing other wildlife at Silver Springs in addition to the tamed varieties seen in the petting zoo.

  • At the Big Gator Lagoon in the middle of a one acre cypress swamp are dozens of wild alligators. Fortunately for the viewing public elevated boardwalks with railings have been built where one can look down and see these formidable looking creatures in a natural habitat.

Feedings of the alligators take place daily at 2:30 PM and if one wishes to see a frenzy of swishing tails and hungry creatures devouring their food set your watches to be there at the appointed time.

  • Endangered Florida panthers can also be found on site at Silver Springs. One was even being walked on a leash the day we were there.
  • According to the literature there is a two acre site where one can view black and Kodiak bears in a natural setting. Either this is a new feature or we missed seeing it the day we were there.
  • The animals that we most enjoyed seeing were those on our Jungle Cruise. This cruise takes one past islands where there are free roaming monkeys, giraffes, zebras, llamas and wild birds of all descriptions. Also seen on the banks of rivers or on logs or even swimming in the translucent waters are turtles.

Adorned with Spanish moss the trees blend in with the other lush vegetation forming a rich tropical atmosphere of sights and sounds. One can almost imagine Tarzan swinging through these trees!

Looking at the pictures taken that day and displayed in this post hopefully readers will understand why this portion of the park as seen from aboard ship on the Jungle Cruise was this author's favorite part of Silver Springs park. The scenery is simply spectacular!

Additional Information

  • A Jeep Safari Jungle Safari drive is also available where one can view animals living and roaming in natural looking habitats created at Silver Springs.
  • Special concerts and special events are held at Silver Springs throughout the year.
  • The park is open daily from February 7 - August 17 from 10 AM to 5 PM. August 22 - December 11, the park is only open on Friday - Sunday. From December 12 - December 28 it is once again open daily except closed Christmas Day.
  • One ticket admission price admits one to all the attractions within the park. Practically everything is operated on a 30 minute schedule so it is possible to take in most of the sights in one day.
  • Food can be purchased on site as well as souvenirs.
  • There is now a ride that takes one high up overhead so as to be able to view the entire Silver Springs park from above.

If you wish to see the attractions which drew the creators of Tarzan and other movie and television makers to this lush Silver Springs area you now know some of the reasons why they were attracted.

Jungle Cruise in Glass Bottomed Boat Ride at Silver Springs, Florida

Jungle Cruise in Glass Bottomed Boat Ride at Silver Springs, Florida

Some of the wildlife and scenery viewed at Silver Springs

Source:

Silver Springs

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What is the cost of staying in cabins in Silver Springs State Park?

Answer: Here is a link that will keep you up to date with experiences and amenities as well as pricing for the cabins and more at Silver Springs State Park: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails...

Question: How much does it cost for the boat ride in Silver Springs park?

Answer: As of today, the 30 to 45-minute glass-bottomed boat rides cost $11 for adults, $10 for seniors (55+) and children (6 to 12), and free for children 5 or younger.

There is a more extended 90-minute tour every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That tour which sells out quickly costs $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and children (same ages as above), and children 5 and under, free.

Question: Is the lodge at Silver Springs State Park in Florida still in use?

Answer: We were just visiting for the day so had no need for lodging. I looked it up for you. At Silver Springs State Park they offer a 59-site full facility campground plus have 10 modern cabins which can be rented. There is no mention of a lodge.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 31, 2020:

Hi Dale,

I hope you get to travel to Silver Springs someday. It is such a beautiful and scenic part of Florida.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 31, 2020:

Came back for another look. There really are some very cool places left in the world that I need to see.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2020:

Hi talfonso,

I have enjoyed swimming in some of those cold spring waters near Crystal River, Florida. They can be quite chilly! We did not swim in Silver Springs, but surely did enjoy our time spent there!

talfonso from Tampa Bay, FL on May 08, 2020:

Glad you enjoyed your trip to Silver Springs! I live in Tampa, FL, and this park is on my "Floridian bucket list!" The only springs I visited in Florida were Ginnie Springs (it was too cold to swim both times I visited and camped out next to, in 2004 and 2005), so I REALLY have to see more - I'm a huge fan of freshwater springs!

Robert Sacchi on January 13, 2020:

Thanks for posting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 13, 2020:

Hi Robert,

Silver Springs is a beauty of a park, and one well worth visiting. Glad you liked learning about it.

Robert Sacchi on January 12, 2020:

This seems a great place to visit on many levels. Thank you for posting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2019:

Hi Aurelio,

The lush setting of Silver Springs made it a perfect venue to film those Tarzan movies. It is a spectacular site! I could just imagine him swinging on those rope-like vines!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2019:

Hi Dale,

For some reason, your comment ended up in the spam folder, so I just now discovered it. You will really like visiting Silver Springs State Park if you are ever in that region of Florida, particularly because of your love of all things Tarzan.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 25, 2019:

Thanks for these bits of movie trivia. I thought all those films were done here in Hollywood -- had no idea they were filmed over there.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on December 30, 2018:

This is awesome! I grew up watching Tarzan A LOT of Tarzan. And listening to him on the radio. And reading his comic books. And now that I am much older I still read his books. This article really excited me and I thank you for sharing it. Plus, the place is beautiful. It's going on the list of places to visit.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 27, 2014:

Hi vespawoolf,

So happy to know that you enjoyed learning about this very scenic part of Florida. Hope you do get to visit it someday.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 20, 2014:

Hi pstraubie48,

That is sad to hear. Hope the state manages it well. It is so beautiful!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 19, 2014:

This was very interesting! I didn't realize there were so many horse farms in this part of Florida. I always think of Kentucky when it comes to horses. I can see why so many movies were filmed in Silver Springs. It does look like a jungle! I remember seeing The Keys when I was a child. Maybe I'll have the chance to return to Florida someday. Thank you for sharing your photos and experience with us.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 15, 2014:

Silver Springs is a short drive from where I live . I have visited there many times . It has changed in a negative way over the years and is being taken over by the state.

Angels are on the way to you ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2013:

Hi Margaret,

Lucky you camping in the Ocala National Forest! If you are that close to Silver Springs, DO plan a visit. It is such a beautiful park and one never knows when parks change hands what will become of them. We saw Cypress Gardens prior to the change, as an example. You can check out that hub to see what it used to look like. If you go to Silver Springs and write a hub...let's link them. Will we be seeing one from where you are now camping? Thanks for your comment and votes.

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on January 22, 2013:

I'm camping in Ocala National Forest right now, and heard on the evening news that the park may be turned over to the state. Palace Entertainment company has a lease to run the park until 2029, but wants to get out of it. I've never been there, but may stop in this year. Great hub - voted up and interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 19, 2012:

Hi again Mary,

Thanks for sharing this article about Silver Springs. Hope that many people who are planning a trip to Florida have the time to check out this gorgeous spot. It is so beautiful and a great place to spend a day or at least part of a day.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 19, 2012:

Hi Pegggy, I just came back to read this again, and the "share" button is back, so I will share!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 18, 2012:

Hi Mary,

Thanks for commenting on this Silver Springs hub. Florida has such an abundance of beautiful spots! I have gone swimming in the Crystal River and just like you said, the name does it justice. It is crystal clear!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 18, 2012:

You brought back some good memories for me with this Hub. I've been to Silver Springs many times. The state of Florida is bless with so many attractions. When we would have guests from out of town, Silver Springs was one place we would take them. Always had to take them to Disney, too!

The area around Crystal River has clear springs that you can swim in. The water is just as clear as Silver Springs. If you ever go back, plan to swim there.

You got some great photos of Silver Springs, too.

I voted this Hub UP, etc. and I will share so others can see this part of Florida. P.S. there is NO share button on this Hub!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 19, 2012:

Hi Eddy,

Just around almost every bend in the road in Florida is another great attraction. Silver Springs is one with so much natural beauty. Glad to hear that you enjoyed this hub. Thanks for your comment.

Eiddwen from Wales on January 19, 2012:

Another gem from you Peggy;I really am on a catch up day today and I have had a great time.

Eddy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 17, 2012:

Hello borneo,

Just like you, I had no idea that the Tarzan movies were filmed in Florida's Silver Springs area. Also the television movie Sea Hunt was filmed there. It is surely a beautiful area. Glad that you liked the photos. Thanks for your comment.

borneo from Austria on January 17, 2012:

That is a really nice hub, i love your pictures. I enjoy your references to the movies, before I had no idea about the locations in the Tarzan movie.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 09, 2011:

Hi Ripplemaker,

So glad you liked the photos from Silver Springs, Florida. It is truly beautiful there! Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 09, 2011:

Hi dahoglund,

I used to watch Tarzan and also Sea Hunt. The water at Silver Springs is really clear so when in glass bottomed boats, one can see the fish swimming and everything that passes below one. One of my brothers liked to scuba dive. It would be a fascinating hobby! Thanks for your comment and votes.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 09, 2011:

Hi Ann,

Since you live not far from Silver Springs in Florida and have been there several times, your compliment about my capturing the place well pleases me. It is truly beautiful and I can see why movies were chosen to be made there. You certainly live in a beautiful State!

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on October 09, 2011:

What a lovely place to visit Peggy. Thank you for sharing these photos. :)

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on October 08, 2011:

Long time since I've seen a Tarzan movie.A high school friend of mine was a big fan of Sea Hunt because he was into Scuba diving.I have seen glass bottom boats somewhere but i don't recall where.Although Florida looks nice there are places that draw me more.Up,beautiful and interesting votes.

anndavis25 from Clearwater, Fl. on October 08, 2011:

I've been there several times. It's not too far from me. You captured it well.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 14, 2010:

Hello Florida Collection Agency,

Not sure which photos you were referring to, but yes...there are some cypress trees in Silver Springs, Florida. The cypress trees form roots that come up (sometimes referred to as "knees") around the tree sometimes sticking up through the water if the tree is on the side of a bank. They shed their leaves in the winter. Hope this helps?

Florida Collection Agency on September 14, 2010:

Are those Cypress trees? They are absolutely stunning. Great hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 29, 2010:

Hello daisyf1305,

So glad that you happened to visit this hub so that you will know of the beautiful natural beauty and attractions of the Silver Springs area of Florida. It is no wonder that your parents fell in love with it! Wishing for you a good move there and a happy life.

Daisy Fabelo from Orlando Florida on August 29, 2010:

I loved your hub for one I am planning to move to sliver springs area and was looking for info. My parents went in 96 and fell in love. I want the beauty and tranquility of natures best. Thanks

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 14, 2009:

Hello samanthagardner,

What a wonderful vacation you had every summer getting to not only see your grandparents in Florida, but also getting to see the attractions at Silver Springs. Did you visit other closeby places as well? So happy to have generated these fond memories for you with this hub.

samanthagardner from Palm Beach Gardens, FL on September 14, 2009:

I went here almost every summer when I went to visit my grandparents in Florida! Thank you for bring back my found memories.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 12, 2009:

Hi again James,

Well........you can live vicariously by looking at the photos of Silver Springs. LOL

James A Watkins from Chicago on September 12, 2009:

I've never been. I'm not much of an outdoor person. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 11, 2009:

Hi James,

Lucky friends of yours who get to enjoy Florida's Silver Springs area often. Do you get to join them? Glad you enjoyed the photos and thanks for the comment.

James A Watkins from Chicago on September 11, 2009:

Truly a lovely place. I have a number of friends who go there often and they love it. Thanks for the fine report. I enjoyed it—especially the fine photos.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 10, 2009:

Hi maggs224,

Hope you do get back to Florida and get to see Silver Springs as you wish. So....another Sea Hunt fan! Guess I should have put that in the title instead of Tarzan. Ha! Thanks for the comment.

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on September 10, 2009:

I used to love Sea Hunt and I loved your hub I am putting this on my to see list should I get back to Florida again.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 09, 2009:

You and me both, Candie, were fans of Sea Hunt. Oh...the good old days! LOL

Glad you enjoyed learning about Silver Springs in Florida. Hope you get there someday. Need anyone to carry your bags? Call me!

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on September 09, 2009:

I'm packing.. right now.. when are we leaving??

PS I used to L.O.V.E. Sea Hunt! WooHoo!!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 09, 2009:

I agree Melody. We absolutely loved our visit to Silver Springs in Florida. Thanks for the comment.

Melody Lagrimas from Philippines on September 09, 2009:

What a fantastic place!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 09, 2009:

Hi shamelabboush,

So you don't think Silver Springs in Florida looks like a U.S. State? That is one thing about America...there is so much variety in the features of different landscapes. We pretty much have it all somewhere in the U.S. What we don't have are the centuries old buildings and history of other countries because of our relative youth as a nation. Glad I could introduce this to you. Maybe I will keep surprising you? Thanks for reading and commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 09, 2009:

Hello dohn121,

I agree with you that your 8 days (and our 5) was not enough time to take in all the sights at Walt Disney World. So much to see! Maybe next time you to to Florida you can take in other attractions like Silver Springs. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 09, 2009:

Hello loveroflife,

Yes, I would agree with you that Florida is filled to the brim with attractions just about every bend in the road. Silver Springs is a great one! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

shamelabboush on September 09, 2009:

Wow, it doesn't even look like a US state!!! Nice experience and great pictures.

dohn121 from Hudson Valley, New York on September 08, 2009:

What a visually entertaining and inviting hub, Peggy! I especially liked the wider array animals on the tour. What a great time you must have had. I certainly now wish that I visited this place when I was there (I spent 8 days in Disney World and felt that it was not nearly enough time enjoy thoroughly! Thank you very much for sharing this!

loveroflife on September 08, 2009:

Thanks for the tour. Silver Springs is just one more great attraction in Florida.