Silver Springs, Ocala, the answer to Hollywood’s search for our very own Jungle Paradise!
While at my weekend job, I have shared that I write for this magazine to various coworkers of mine. As I struck up a conversation with Jade, she shared that she had been to Silver Springs a year ago with her boyfriend, Connor. When I asked if she had seen the monkeys that I heard about, her eyes lit up.
Jade said that while they were tandem kayaking, they could hear the Rhesus Macaques eating and calling to each other some 20 feet in the canopy above. They could see the primates as they went about their business uninhibited by the presence of intruders below. Interestingly as of 2022, the count was estimated at 300, give or take a few. These self-propagating primates are a miracle in and of themself.
One of Florida’s first tourist attractions, Silver Springs, was put on the map, as it were, by a tour boat operator named Colonel Toe, who released the monkeys into the untamed wilderness to “enhance his jungle cruise ride for the tourists,” he would navigate the river for a fee with a lively explanation of the origins of the primate’s existence.
Interesting fact, Cyril Hume wrote a movie script with the title “Tarzan Discovers a Son” in 1939, and Richard Thorpe directed the movie. Many will know that Johnny Weissmuller played the part of Tarzan in more than six of the films alongside of Maureen Sullivan, who played Jane in six of the featured films. This movie and many others were filmed on the Silver Springs River.
In the last 3 years, interest in the park has increased dramatically due to its thriving population of Macaques (Spider Monkeys, Gibbon’s family, Lemurs, and Soldier monkeys can also be observed) unmolested in the park.
To visit the park and enjoy its 34-plus amenities, visit: 5656 E. Silver Springs Rd Marion County, Silver Springs State Park, or call 352-261-5840, Sliver Springs, or www.Floridastateparks.org, and don’t forget to tell them April sent you.