Silver Springs State Park

By Linda

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Anhinga bathing in the Silver River in Florida.

Our second stop on this trip was to Silver Springs State Park.  This used to be a commercial operation with lots of different exotic wildlife maintained for the paying guests’ viewing pleasure.  I came here probably 30 years ago with my son Jason, my mother, and my nephew Kenny, and went on the glass bottom boats.  We saw lots of exotic wildlife, including monkeys.  Monkeys were released in the area about 80 years ago and they are doing well.  In 2013, it became a State Park.  The exotic animals are gone (except the monkeys), but the magic remains.

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Fort King Paddling Trail in Silver Springs State Park in Florida.

We launched our kayaks at the head of the springs and went on the Fort King Paddling trail.  We saw lots and lots of wildlife.  It was amazing.  The paddling trail brings you back to the main part of the Silver River where we saw a manatee.  There are not many manatees in this river, so it was fortunate that we got to see one.   Regis got some video.  To see it click here and here.  Regis holds the video camera underwater for these pictures and has to guess where to point it.

We saw many Anhinga’s fishing and then drying off.  I saw one catch a fish.  In the first shot below, you can see the bulge near the head as the fish begins to go down.  In the second photo you can see the bulge in the throat.

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Anhinga beginning to swallow a fish it just caught.
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Fish being swallowed by an Anhinga. See the bulge in the throat.

We loved our paddle trip so much that instead of getting out at the end, we backtracked and did it again.  If you happen to be this way we highly recommend renting a kayak or canoe (if you don’t have your own) and do this trip from the main entrance to the park.  You will not be disappointed.

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Turtle party on the Fort King Paddling Trail at Silver Springs State Park in Florida.
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Small turtle wearing vegetation at Silver Springs State Park in Florida.