Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Logo
One of Silver River's nature trails winds through shady, green woods.  (Photo by Eric Kucera) This tiny church makes up part of Silver River's Cracker Village. An alligator and a turtle face each other down in the waters of Silver River. (Photo by Bill Combs) Sunny rooms and a cheery fireplace welcome you to book a stay in one of our cozy cottages.
Silver River State Park
Mist rises from the Silver River while water drops glisten on the just-budding branches of the tree in the foreground. (Photo by Terry Guadagni)

History and Culture

In the 1820s, the springs became a tourist attraction for adventurous visitors who poled their way along the narrow stream through overhanging cypress and Spanish moss. With the invention of the paddlewheel, Silver River and Springs became a distribution center for Central Florida. Plantations growing vegetables, tobacco and oranges sprang up along the banks as nearby Ocala grew. In the late 1870s, Phillip Morrell fixed a piece of glass in the bottom of a rowboat and a new enterprise began. Silver River's glass-bottom boat tours have been world famous for more than over 100 years.

Birds gather under the moss-covered trees along the Silver River in this historic postcard view.

Early View of River

This early view of the Silver River shows what has attracted people to the area for thousands of years: abundant water, wildlife and beautiful scenery.

The Silver River State Park and Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center  signs mark the entrance to the park.

Entrance Signs

The Silver River Museum and Environmental Center and Silver Springs State Park both opened to the public in 1987. For several years, however, the Silver River Museum and Education Center was the only developed area at the park. The continued relationship with the park and the Marion County School Board has given many local school children the opportunity to participate in environmental education programs at the Center.

This tin-roofed  wood framed house is one of several historic structures on display at the Cracker Village.

Cracker House

The Cracker Village at the Silver River Museum and Education Center consists of a reconstructed Cracker house and several other structures representing the life of early pioneers in Central Florida.

The entrance station welcomes visitors to Silver River State Park.

Entrance Station

The entrance station, completed in 2000, was one of the first park buildings constructed at Silver Springs. Since that time, a campground, cabins, picnic area with playground and a canoe and kayak launch have been added, providing additional recreational opportunities for park visitors.

Two men dressed as early Florida settlers or 'crackers' relax by a campfire during the annual Ocali Country Days event.

Country Days

The Ocali Country Days is one of several special events held regularly at the park and the museum and education center. The Ocali Country Days is an annual two-day event honoring Central Florida's history. Here two men dressed as Florida 'crackers' relax near a campfire in the Cracker Village.