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Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

 Activities at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Bicycling

Bicycling

This is a beautiful park that is perfect for bicycling on paved and unpaved surfaces.

Boat Tours

Boat Tours

The River Boat Tour along the Wakulla River is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Tallahassee area. The 40-60 minute world-class wildlife viewing event takes visitors on a three mile loop downstream and back among majestic bald cypress trees, elegant wading birds and toothy alligators. Manatees are often sighted, but their presence is not dependable. A camera is highly recommended to capture the candid images of the river’s fauna.

The ranger-led tour not only highlights the wildlife, but often includes stories of human interactions with the spring. They sometimes feature the lives of indigenous peoples, movies filmed during the Edward Ball years, and/or the more recent adventures of explorations within the caves that bring water to the spring.

The River Boat Tours run 365 days a year weather permitting (Temperatures must be above 40 degrees and tours are not conducted during thunderstorms.) The boats are 30 feet long and have a roof. There is also a wheelchair accessible boat that is available upon request.

The Waterfront Visitor’s Center opens at 9:30am and the first boat departs at 9:40am. Succeeding tours depart at varying times, depending on visitor demand. Greater visitation results in more frequent tours. The last tour of the day during Standard Time departs at 4:30pm EST. The last tour of the day during Daylight Saving Time is 5:00pm EDT. The cost of the tour is $8 for adults (13 years old and up), $5 for children (ages 3-12); under the age of three there is no charge.

Tickets are available on a first-come-first-served basis for the next scheduled tour of the day only. Because of the unpredictable and sudden nature of North Florida weather, tickets are not sold for tours beyond the next one scheduled. Individual or small group reservations are not available.

Groups of 20 or more are eligible for specially discounted group rates Monday-Friday provided certain criteria are met. Advance reservations for groups of 20 or more may also be made for non-holiday weekends (No discounted rates are available on the weekends).  Please call 850-561-7286 for details and to make arrangements.

Occasionally, Specialty Boat Tours are available. Please see the park’s special event section for dates, times and associated fees.

Glass-Bottom Boat Tours over the spring basin have become the exception rather than the rule in recent years. Tea-stained or green water impedes the penetration of light needed to view the impressive features of the 120 foot deep chasm of Wakulla Spring. Heavy rains, combined with other unknown factors, are thought to be the cause of decreased visibility.

On those rare days (usually in late winter or early spring) when the “mysterious waters” of Wakulla Spring may momentarily regain their aquamarine tint and crystal clear quality, the gasps of visitors moved by the spring’s abyss can once again be heard. The ancient remains of great furry elephants (mastodons) can be seen resting on the basin’s steep sandy slopes. Schools of catfish dance in the spring’s depths, fish conventions follow the boat, and even out-of-practice Henry-the-Pole-Vaulting-Fish may choose to entertain upon request of the captain.

When possible, the 30 minute Glass-Bottom Boat Tour departs at 12:00pm, 1:00pm, and 2:00pm weather and water clarity permitting. The tour times endeavor to take advantage of the sun’s best light. The cost of the tour is $8 for adults (13 years old and up), $5 for children (ages 3-12), and under the age of three there is no charge. To avoid disappointment, it is strongly suggested that the park be contacted prior to expected visitation to ascertain the feasibility of glass-bottom boat operation. Water quality conditions can change rapidly and unexpectedly.

Concession & Restaurant

Concession & Restaurant

Food and/or drinks can be purchased here.

Dining Room

You can enjoy magnificent cuisine and a beautiful view through the arched windows of the Ball Room Restaurant. The dining room features daily specials, fresh seafood and many local favorites including our '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.

Soda Fountain / Gift Shop

Enjoy our old fashioned soda fountain where you can get classics like milk shakes, malts and ice cream sodas, served from the longest marble counter top in the world. We also serve sandwiches, hot dogs and other delicious treats. If you are looking for that perfect souvenir, our gift shop offers many items for you to buy.

For more information, click on Wakulla Springs Lodge or call (850) 421-2000

Family Reunions

Family Reunions

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is perfect for small family reunions. The park offers lots of outdoor activities and comfortable guest rooms. Call (850) 421-2000 for more information.

Hiking/Nature Trail

Hiking/Nature Trail

The beginning portions of the trail weave through a pristine and very beautiful hardwood forest. The thick canopies above of American Beech, Southern Magnolia, Swamp Chestnut Oak, and Pignut Hickory trees provide for an open understory. Further along you will encounter a Longleaf Pine forests which is maintained with prescribed fire. The trail is six miles in one direction.

Historic Site

Historic Site

Edward Ball purchased Wakulla Springs in 1934 and developed it as an attraction that focused on the preservation of wildlife and the surrounding habitat. The Wakulla Springs Lodge, completed in 1937, is an excellent example of Mediterranean Revival architecture with its quiet elegance. Twenty-seven guest rooms are furnished with period furniture and private bathrooms and provide a retreat from the modern world. The lobby is a perfect place to relax. Its period furnishings include a grand piano, marble checker tables and a massive fireplace. This is where you will find the only television. The 10-foot ceiling is intricately painted.

The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a National Natural Landmark.

Interpretive Exhibit

Interpretive Exhibit

An interpretive that outlines the history of the park and the spring from Paleolithic times until present is on display in the boat ticket office located at the Waterfront.

Lodge

Lodge

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wakulla Springs Lodge, built in the 1930s, features 27 guest rooms, each with a spacious marble bathroom, walk-in closet, and antique or period furniture. All rooms have a telephone. For a quiet and relaxing stay, rooms have no televisions. Located on the second floor, guestrooms are accessible via the elevator or numerous staircases. The Ball Room Restaurant, located on the ground floor, overlooks Wakulla Spring and features daily specials and fresh seafood.

Reservations are recommended. Call (850) 421-2000.

Rates: $95.00 to $150.00 per night. Group rates are available.

For more information click on Wakulla Springs Lodge.

Meetings & Retreats

Meetings & Retreats

Make your event special at Wakulla Springs State Park and Lodge, which offers the perfect location for a productive conference, banquet or special event. Facilities are available for groups large and small.

Edward Ball Conference Room
Situated on the second floor, this beautiful conference room overlooks the world famous Wakulla Springs. Board room style for 20 people. - $150/day.

Magnolia Room
With windows overlooking both the courtyard and park, this room is perfect for a small group meeting or break out space for a larger group. Board room style for 12 people. - $85.00/day.

Dogwood Conference Room
Nestled in the woods just a short distance from the lodge, the room offers a cottage-like feel with a large outside deck that can be used for pre-function space. It can be set up in a variety of seating arrangements. Accommodates up to 45 people. - $150/day, Monday-Friday; $250/day, Saturday, Sunday, banquets and special events.

 

For more information click on Wakulla Springs Lodge or call the Lodge at (850) 421-2000 for more information.

Picnicking

Picnicking

Picnic areas including tables and grills are provided within the park. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited except in the lodge, where alcohol is sold. Alcohol is allowed during park-sanctioned events, within designated areas only.

Playground

Playground

A playground is offered in our picnic area.

Showers, Day Visitors

Showers, Day Visitors

There is an outdoor shower provided near the Waterfront Visitor's Center to rinse off after swimming in the spring.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling

Snorkeling is allowed within the boundaries of the swimming area only. It is a great place to explore and see fish and other wildlife that inhabit the spring.

Swimming

Swimming

Swimming is allowed only within the designated swimming area near the spring. An observation and diving platform at the spring head allows a splendid view of the spring.

Weddings

Weddings

Weddings are popular at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.

For more information, please see our flyer weddings at Wakulla Springs State Park.

Weddings and Special Events
Wakulla Springs State Park and Lodge is perfect for your wedding, banquet or special event. Two private dining spaces accommodate groups between 25 and 100 people. Choose between the Cypress Room or the glass-enclosed terrace.

The Ceremony
Select from indoor or outdoor sites. Outdoor weddings may be moved inside up to two hours prior to the ceremony.

The Reception
For a truly memorable event host your wedding or anniversary reception on the beautiful glass-enclosed terrace, with catering by the renowned Wakulla Springs staff.  

For more information click on Wakulla Springs Lodge or call (850) 421-2000.

 

 

 

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing is possible at this park.