The natural beauty and elegance along with the rich history make our Silver Springs kayaking tours are some of the best in the state. The abundant wildlife and pristine water, make for a picture perfect kayak tour. Being a local Florida native, Silver Springs is and has always been a very special place for me. A place that I respect and cherish. The Silver Springs State Park is one of the few places in Florida that has feral Rhesus monkeys living along the shoreline. Contrary to many stories that the monkeys were escapees from one of several Tarzan movies they filmed here, the real history is that monkeys were actually introduced to an Island in the park by Colonel Tooey in 1930’s. Colonel Tooey was a concessionaire that ran the jungle cruise boat tour. Colonel Tooey planned on using the monkeys for his jungle cruise attraction as one of the sites for tourists, calling it monkey Island. What he didn’t know is that the monkeys were excellent swimmers and soon swam away. They are wild in the park now and all throughout the Silver River and Ocklawaha River basin.
Artifacts and fossils of mastodon mammoths and paleo Indians dating back approximately 9,840 years ago have been found in the Silver River. Native American tribes like the Tamaqua and the Seminole Indians once lived here along the River using it’s many natural resources for food and shelter. Silver Springs was a hot spot for tourism after the civil war. Silver Springs was the first Florida tourist attraction and became a registered National Natural Landmark in 1971. The state of Florida took over the privately owned attraction in October of 2013 and have made some major improvements.
Our kayaking tours touch base on the recognized history and even on some of the untold stories of times past, that is if we have time between talking about all the amazing local wildlife we see. To me…Silver Springs is a unique and captivating natural habitat and I am blessed and proud to explain, explore and bring awareness of the beauty and importance of this Florida Treasure.
Greg Braswell – Owner/Guide, Florida Native & UF Master Naturalist