Rainbow Springs is thriving as one of Florida’s finest State Park. Reclaimed from a stately past, this is definitely a park you would want to consider visiting. Come early, this park can fill up fast in season, and plan on spending at least a full day in the lush tropical Florida surroundings.
People have visited this spring for thousands of years. Seminole Indians hunted and fished here. Phosphate mining brought people to the area during the early 20th century. In the 1930’s the springs opened as a family owned amusement park which operated until 1974 when the Interstate closed them down. In its “Old Florida” heyday, the park offered submarine rides, gardens, waterfalls, a monorail, aviary, a zoo, a horse rodeo area, glass-bottomed boat rides, riverboat rides, log raft rides, a leaf-shaped gondola/monorail system, and of course, the waterfalls.
Did I mention the waterfalls? Who knew Florida had waterfalls. ? A must see in our opinion.
Rainbow Springs is Florida's fourth largest spring producing up to 600 million US gallons fresh water per day. State purchased the land and Rainbow Springs State Park opened to the public in 1995.
The birding here should be fabulous given that there are 11 distinct natural communities, including sandhills, flatwoods, upland mixed forests, and hydric hammocks. One can expect to find a variety of resident and migratory songbirds, wading birds Great Egret, Heron, and Anhinga . Be sure to check out the butterfly garden for butterflies and hummingbirds.
Rainbow Springs, located on U.S. Highway 41 three miles north of Dunnellon and twenty miles south west of Ocala. The Park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset 365 days a year.
The cost to enter is $2 per person or $5 per vehicle carrying up to 8 people. Kids under 6 are admitted for free. The tubing fee is $11 per person. Camping available and popular.
To see these and more photos in high resolution visit the Lonestar North Gallery HERE
To see an interesting you tube video of what the springs was like "back in the day" CLICK HERE.