I must add a parting tribute to Georgia. Cotton is still king & the fields are beautiful. The harvest is late this year because of a bacterial problem. We stopped at one field to have a close look. The bushes are filled with pods that open up into 4-5 huge puffs of cotton. (which look amazingly like drugstore cotton balls) They are beautiful & soft. The seeds are embedded deep within & are quite difficult to remove!
We had the pleasure of driving about 150 miles of rural GA roads & were delighted with the agricultural diversity. We saw commercial fields of blueberries, tobacco, pecan trees, peanuts, squash, pine trees & OLIVES! Who knew? GA farmers are trying their best!
Now onto Silver Springs. So much to tell. We love our campground: spacious, wooded, water, electricity & best of all - three ATT bars! Wahoo!
Humans have been gathering at these warm waters for over 12,000 year. Silver Springs was Florida's first tourist attraction! It started in 1820's when "eco-adventurers" poled up the river in small boats. The invention of the paddlewheel bought more travelers to this area. In 1870, Philip Morrel put a piece of glass in the bottom of his rowboat & the glass bottom boat was born! Tourism began! In the 1920s developers created what became the theme park. Animal exhibits, rides and a water park joined the glass-bottom boats and the beautiful (human) mermaids swimming in the crystal clear 72 degree waters!
Silver Springs is home to the world’s largest artesian spring, gushing up to 550 million gallons of clear water to form the 4 mile long Silver River. There are over 600 springs in Florida that produce over 8 billion gallons of water per day! That's a lot of water. The limestone aquifer underneath Florida filters rain water that eventually flows out of the springs 20 years later!
It was a lovely walk through the park, along the boardwalks & the river. Maggie was her usual well behaved self. Many movies & TV shows have filmed at Silver Springs. Tarzan, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Smokey & the Bandit, & my personal favorite - Sea Hunt!
We had to take a glass bottom boat ride! The water is really crystal clear. There are six springs in a half mile section of this river. You can see from our murky shots that the springs are just openings in the rocks. The springs very in depth from 81 ft to maybe a mile. (measured by dropping a weighted rope down) The statues from the first "underwater" photo are left over from the James Bond film, Moonraker.
The second photo is one the springs. We expected to see bubbles or current coming out but it looked very still. The third photo is of a rowboat from Hernando de Soto's exploration group. There is also a 500 year old dugout canoe on the bottom from the Ocale tribe. The park was allowed to remove these for testing & dating but they had to be put back exactly where they were found. Both boats are made from cypress so as long as they stay under water, they'll still be around.
We are looking forward to another day exploring & being tourists.