I love lighthouses, mountains, covered bridges, sandy beaches…and Silver Springs. When several of my girlfriends got together a few years ago for a mini reunion, Silver Springs was on the agenda. This would be the first time I had seen most of them since high school nearly 50 years earlier. There was to be food, fun, fellowship, and a bit of adventure. (And no, I didn’t do the zip line, though a few of the girls did). One of the activities we shared during our weekend was a three-hour-tour on a Silver Springs boat tour. It was a special time and after about two hours and the muggy 99 degree temperatures, we were beginning to feel like this might turn out to be another sort of three-hour-tour we’ve all heard about. However, we survived and learned a few things that would make our next adventure even better. More about those tips later. For now, I want to share with you about my reflections on Silver Springs, and a few reflections about my friends.
Reflections on Silver Springs
Silver Springs is one of the largest artesian springs in the world, and has been a natural landmark since 1870. By 1971 it had been designated as a National Natural Landmark with its beauty and tourist attraction.
I had my camera up to my face for much of the trip in an attempt to capture the beauty that surrounded us. I took WAY too many pictures of turtles, and caught an abundant amount of good-natured ridicule, but it was all in fun. Though the trip was a bit too long, and a lot too hot, we survived our three-hour-tour and still had smiles and laughter a-plenty.
The Monkeys came to the edge of the forest with initial interest as we floated by, but soon ignored us as they tended to their monkey business.
Several of the monkeys carried babies to the waters edge and observed us with interest.
Birds were unafraid of our presence and almost posed for pictures.
Activities include hiking, camping, glass bottom boat tours, kayaking, nature observation and fabulous photography opportunities. The many species of birds in the park will challenge even the most avid bird-watchers. The monkeys will enchant the spectator with their antics and casual regard for spectators.
Kayaking is a big sport in the Silver Springs…
…But in some situations it is advisable to stay in the boat
The State Park has several boat tours, but our tour was with a privately owned company. It was a small pontoon and could accommodate only eight passengers. As we boarded, we were informed by our captain that he was in charge and would do all the talking. Huh, what? This was a bit of a problem since we had so much catching up to do – but in the end, he won and we were unable to converse among ourselves. We didn’t care much for his rules, but it certainly made for some hilarious conversation that evening around the kitchen table. In his defense, he seemed knowledgeable concerning plant and animal life, and the history surrounding Silver Springs.
The Beautiful Reflections on Silver Springs
Looking at these reflections, I felt like I was observing a Claude Monet painting – or at least his inspiration.
Floating along through the day gave opportunity for each of us to reflect upon the beauty of our surroundings. It was a time to absorb the tranquility and to push the “pause” button in our hectic lives. My thoughts were random as I gazed at the living reflections dancing across the water. What I saw in the water was but a reflection of the actual forest, but in my mind, the reflection was the thing of greatest beauty. That’s so true in my life. It is only when I look deeply into the mirror of God’s Word and reflect His goodness, His grace, and His beauty, that my life has beauty. There is an old song by Gipsy Smith that fully incapsulates my thinking on this subject. “Oh to reflect [God’s] grace…” I want my life to cause the world to see Jesus revealed in me.
As I look into the faces of these dear precious friends, I know them and I see in them the reflections of God’s grace at work in their lives. Reflections on this day at Silver Springs and Reflections in the lives of these friends. Both beautiful to see.
Have you been to Silver Springs? Did you tour in the glass-bottom boats? What was your favorite part of the visit? I hope you’ll share your experience.
Tips Regarding Silver Springs Boat Tours
If you are touring with the state park, many of these issues will not apply. However, if you are going with a private company, do some research.
- Is this tour about you, or about the captain.
- Check to see if there will be a canopy to shield you from intense heat.
- Carry a cooler with snacks and bottled water.
- Bring along repellent
- Make sure your camera batteries are fully charged because the scenery is incredible.
- You may want to bring along a polarizing filter for your camera to truly capture the clarity of the water
- Make a restroom stop before beginning the tour.
- Ask what the tipping expectation is before leaving the dock.