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Silver Springs Review
The 350-acre natural theme park at the western edge of the Ocala National Forest has the world's largest collection of artesian springs. The state's first tourist attraction, it was established in 1890. Today the park presents wild-animal displays, glass-bottom-boat tours on the Silver River, a Jeep safari through 35 acres of wilderness, and walks through natural habitats. Exhibits include the Panther Prowl, which lets you watch and photograph the endangered Florida panther, and the Big Gator Lagoon, a 1-acre cypress swamp with more than 30 alligators. Other attractions include the Fort King River Cruise and the Lighthouse Ride, a combination carousel/gondola ride that gives a bird's-eye view of the park. Take Route 40 east from I–75 Exit 352 or west from I–95 Exit 268.
Wild Waters. This is a great place to cool off, thanks to a 450,000-gallon wave pool, a 220-foot-long speed flume, the Alligator Ambush extreme tube slide, and a multilevel kids area. 5656 E. Silver Springs Blvd., 34488. 352/236–2121. www.wildwaterspark.com. $14. Apr.–Sept., hrs. vary.
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