Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Logo
The Old Spanish Sugarmill Restaurant has been in operation since 1961. The renovated Visitor Center received the Best Citizen Support Organization (CSO) Project Award in 2007. Dottie Cobb (left) was the model for the Bathing Beauty statue and the 1953 billboard. Sandra Koop was the mural artist. De Leon Springs is one of only two parks with swimming in western Volusia County. Its design is perfect for families with small children.
De Leon Springs State Park
This lovely entrance was built in the 1950s when the park was a private attraction. In 2008, the park's visitation was about 235,000.

History and Culture

Non-native ornamentals such as azaleas and various palm species were planted between the 1930s and 1960s near the trails and in the parking lot of DeLeon Springs State Park. The azaleas bloom throughout the park in early spring. A paved walkway leads to 'Old Methuselah,' a huge bald cypress that is more than 500 years old. Visitors may notice an abundance of white or gray snail shells in the ground-evidence of centuries of occupation by Native American groups who came to the spring to gather food. They would cook the snails and discard piles of shells. Two dugout canoes found in the spring are among the oldest canoes in America (5,000 and 6,000 years old).

Myths & Legends

<a href="Myth">http://www.floridastateparks.org/deleonsprings/doc/additionalinformation/dls-mythofthebronzeplaque.pdf"><b>Myth of the Bronze Plaque</b></a>

In the 1950s, visitors to the attraction parked outside and rode a tram to the entrance.

1950s Tram

The park was the Ponce De Leon Springs attraction from 1953 to the mid-1960s. Visitors could take a Jungle Cruise and see Sunshine Sally, the water-skiing elephant.

The swimming area was popular as soon as the park opened in June 1982.

Swimming Area, 1982

This photo was taken in June 1982, about two weeks after the park opened. Slides, diving boards and a high dive platform were still in use from the previous owner, who had operated De Leon Springs as a private park.

The Jungle Cruise was a popular part of the Ponce De Leon Springs attraction.

Jungle Cruise, 1950s

The Jungle Cruise was an exciting way to see the interior of the park. It traveled on a canal past Old Methuselah, an ancient cypress tree, and Monkey Island where several monkeys were kept.

The Ponce De Leon Springs Hotel operated from the early 1930s to the 1960s.

Hotel, 1940s

The Ponce De Leon Springs Hotel featured a casino in its early years. Fourteen rooms overlooked the spring and the dining room served steak, lobster and mountain trout.

The park opened on June 12, 1982.

Opening Ceremony

The park opened on June 12, 1982. The property was a joint purchase by the state of Florida and Volusia County. Governor Bob Graham attended the ceremony.