Florida Guide > State Parks
Wakulla Springs State Park
This State Park -also known as Edward Ball State Park -after the financier Edward Ball like most State Parks is open year-round.
Edward Ball built the lodge at Wakulla that now serves as a hotel for anyone wishing to stay and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Edward Ball purchased the property in 1934 and developed it as an attraction focusing on wildlife preservation and the surrounding habitat. In order to help his cause he enticed the film industry from Silver Springs – where they were making the early Tarzan films -to Wakulla and the classic “Creature of the Black Lagoon” was filmed here too .
The park has daily boat tours that go on a 3 mile trip along the river where you are invited to keep a look out for the many species of wildlife that inhabit the river. On our trip we were fortunate enough to see numerous alligators all getting warmth from the winter sun on the banks or logs, herons , jumping mullet , and several manatees that came so close to the boat you could almost touch them. The boat trip runs several times a day and the cost in January 2011 was $8-well worth it .
If you are very lucky and visit in the late spring the waters of the river may have cleared enough for the rangers to take out the glass bottom boat -unfortunately the water is turning too dark for this to be a regular occurance . Should you take this trip then you may be able to see ancient remains of great furry elephants (mastodons)which can be seen resting on the basin’s steep sandy slopes. One such specimen found at Wakulla is on display at the Florida Museum of Natural history in Gainesville.
There is a walking trail you can enjoy but be aware it is not a loop and 6 miles long so whatever distance you walk out -you have to walk back. Whatever distance you tackle you can treat yourself to a snack and a drink at the finish at the parks old fashioned soda fountain. You can get classics like milk shakes, malts and ice cream sodas, served from the long marble counter top or enjoy a sandwiche or hot dog. If something more delicious is more to your fancy then try the restaurant in the lodge
The dining room features daily specials, fresh seafood and many local favourites including their ' World Famous' navy bean soup plus fried chicken for breakfast. The dining room is open for breakfast from 7:30 a. m to 10:00 a. m. Lunch is served from 11:30 a. m. until 2:00 p. m and dinner is available from 6:00 p. m. to 8:00 p. m. If you would rather provide your own fare then there are picnic tables available for your use.
Wakulla Springs is easily reached and is just a short drive from I-10 in the north of the State -not really a day trip but certainly worth a visit if you are in the area.
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