5656 E. Silver Springs Blvd.
Silver Springs, FL 34488
Throughout history, Silver Springs has been a timeless oasis and a place of unparalleled beauty, offering respite to early settlers who drew sustenance from its 99.8 percent pure artesian spring waters.
In the early 1500s, Timucuan Indians settled in the area around Silver Springs which they referred to as Ocali, a sub province of Timucua. In 1539, the area was invaded by Spaniards, led by Hernando de Soto, looking to exploit wealth. After many battles, the Ocali Indians were able to retain their claimed territory.
In time, the Timucuans were succeeded by other Indian tribes including the Seminole Indians. When the U.S. Government attempted to move the Seminoles from Florida to reservations in the western U.S. in 1835, Chief Osceola and the Seminoles retreated to the southern swamps. His slashing of the treaty the U.S. Government representatives presented to him is the famous gesture that gained him the respect of the Seminole Indians, and many joined Osceola's forces in future battles. Today, all of the Glass Bottom Boats are named in honor of those Indian leaders who fought in Florida.
In the 1850s, commerce was introduced to the Silver Springs area as barges carried cotton, lumber, and nonperishables up the Silver River to the area's growing population. Hubbard H. Hart founded the Hart Line, a stagecoach connection between Palatka, Silver Springs, Ocala and
. In 1860, Hart hired James Burt, who brought conventional steamboats to Silver Springs. From that point on, tourists flocked to see the crystal-clear waters that had attracted attention for centuries.
Silver Springs' popularity flourished after Hullam Jones invented the glass bottom boat there in 1878. By installing a glass viewing box on the flat bottom of a dugout canoe, he created a window to an underwater world teeming with fish, turtles, crustaceans and fossils more than 10,000 years old.
- Boat Tours
- Guided Tours
- Visitor Center
- Wildlife Viewing
Hours of Operation
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.