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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Wakulla Springs

Just south of Tallahassee near Crawfordville, Florida you will find this amazing biodiverse piece of old Florida. The park is called Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park and it is a relatively recent one having been established in 1986. But this has been a protected sanctuary by landowners for 90 years.

There is a lodge on the property but most come for the day adventures of swimming, picnicking, and the amazing 45 minute boat tour into the natural habitat of the Springs. The focus of this post will be the boat tour.

The price is only $8 per adult and $5 for kids under 12. Taxes are included in the price making this a great value. A total of 30 people are allowed on each boat. This is a guided tour with the boat captain acting as the guide.

My granddaughter and I seated in row 1:

The tour starts with a trip through the old growth of Florida along the river banks. Many Cypress trees as well as old Spanish moss clinging to Oaks. Some of these trees date back 2,000 years! This is unspoiled Florida that few really experience. There’s more than just Disney and Miami Beach here. Those guys are newcomers.

Not really a common sight in June, are the manatees that swim up here from the Gulf. These are rare creatures that survive in both the salt waters of the ocean and the cool, clear fresh waters of the Springs.

Manatees look more like baby whales in the water. But they are actually related to the elephant. Although they look like a big fat blob in the water, they are actually almost complete muscle. They are the only creatures on these waters the alligators don’t mess with. They’re just too big for them.

Which brings us to the king of the Springs. The alligator is ubiquitous in the park. There are thousands of them. Although there is a very crowded swimming hole in the Springs, the alligators never seem to bother the swimmers. The swimming area is roped off by a floating rope, but nothing prevents entry of these predators. They just prefer to stay away from people and feed on turtles.

Alligators mostly rest in the sun during the day to warm their cold blood. They do this to absorb the energy on the “radiator “ on their back to warm their blood for night activities. That is when they are active hunters.

There is a prominent Osprey nest in the middle of the bout tour of the springs. Osprey nests are located in the highest position with unobstructed view of its prey.

They don’t have to worry about the eagle taking their spot. Eagles, as predatory as they are, fear these kings of the sky.

The enhinger birds are known also as the “snake bird” because of how their long necks look when they swim in the water. You will often see them perched on a log or stump with their wings out as they try to dry them.

For old movie buffs, these next two scenes could look familiar. This was the shooting location for the old Tarzan movies. Remember when Tarzan would swing from vine to vine?

It’s also the location of the shooting of the creature from the Black Lagoon from the 1950s. Although this movie would seem quite comical to watch today, at its time, it was a true horror movie.

It was also a scene from Airport 77. That was shot on location here. But I can’t say I saw that movie.

At the end of the boat tour, you come back to the beach area of the state park. There is an elevated platform at the beach where many of the teens like to gather and jump off. They wait for the boat to come by and then often you can see them jumping en masse.

This particular day they didn’t put on much of a show for whatever reason.

it is a fantastic cruise and better than any ride I’ve ever had in Disney. If you’re into nature and natural settings, you wouldn’t want to miss this one. Especially for the exceptional low price.

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Mike Wells
Mike Wells
Jul 08
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

What a great day to spend with your granddaughter. Nice to see animals in there natural habitat not all caged up.

Jul 11
Replying to

I agree!

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