Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Logo
Wekiwa Springs State Park boasts some of the best sandhill habitat in the state. Wekiwa Springs State Park is home to a healthy population of Florida black bears. The Real Florida 5K race at Wekiwa Springs began in 1987 and is the park's oldest annual event. The Wekiva Plein Air Paint Out began in 2006 and features artists painting scenes from the park to show and sell throughout the week.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Wekiwa Springs is the beautiful headspring of the Wekiva River.

History and Culture

Forty-two million gallons of crystal clear water flow each day from Wekiwa Springs into Wekiwa Springs Run. The run joins with Rock Springs Run to form the beautiful upper Wekiva River. Creeks, later called Seminoles, are the most recent Native Americans to have lived here. Wekiwa means 'spring of water' and Wekiva means 'flowing water' in the Creek language.

A photo of Wekiwa Springs taken in the early 1900s.

Historic Wekiwa

This area was known as Clay Springs until 1906, when the name was changed to Wekiwa Springs. This photo was taken shortly after the name changed and shows several structures near the Spring. The largest and most prominent structure was the bathhouse, where swimmers would change into their swimsuits. Tourism was an important industry at the time and the springs were touted as medicinal waters that would cure an assortment of ailments. This claim was an attempt to draw northerners to the area and promote tourism.

The Apopka Sportsman Club sold what is today Wekiwa Springs State Park to the state of Florida in 1969.

Apopka Hunt Club

The Apopka Sportsman Club bought the land that is presently Wekiwa Springs State Park in 1941 from the Wilson Cypress Company, which logged the land for hardwoods, in addition to cypress and pine. The Apopka Sportsman Club used the land for hunting and fishing until 1969 when they sold it to the state of Florida to become Wekiwa Springs State Park. The club built several hunting cabins on the property, most of which are no longer in existence, but have been turned into primitive camping sites. One cabin remains and currently serves as a ranger residence.

Florida Park Service Director Ney Landrum speaks to new park rangers during Ranger Academy at Wekiwa Springs State Park.

Ranger Academy

The Florida Park Service Ranger Academy is a bi-annual, two-week training that is aimed at teaching all new park rangers about the mission of the Florida Park Service. The first Ranger Academy was held at O'Leno State Park in 1972. In 1977, Ranger Academy was moved to Wekiwa Springs State Park, where it has been held ever since. This photo shows the Florida Park Service director at that time, Ney Landrum, addressing a new group of park rangers. The mission of the Florida Park Service is to provide resource-based recreation while preserving, interpreting and restoring natural and cultural resources.

Prescribed fire is essential for many of Florida's ecosystems.

Prescribed Fire

Prescribed fire is an essential resource management tool that land managers can use to meet specific objectives. The use of carefully planned prescribed fires can help reduce dangerous vegetative fuel build up, which reduces the chances of having a catastrophic wildfire. Wekiwa Springs State Park has long been known for its successful prescribed fire program through community outreach with neighbors and the hosting of many statewide fire training classes.

Governor Bush signs the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act at Wekiwa Springs in 2004.

Governor Bush

In 2004, Florida Governor Jeb Bush visited Wekiwa Springs State Park and signed into law the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act. This Act provides a way to build an environmentally sensitive parkway through the Wekiva River Basin while meeting the demanding transportation needs of Central Florida. The Wekiva Parkway will complete a beltway around Orlando that will alleviate traffic congestion while conserving thousands of acres of adjacent land. Governor Bush signed the legislation into law while on the bulkhead at Wekiwa Springs.