We had a great time exploring Wakulla Springs today. We enjoyed a River Boat Tour and lots of fun splashing and swimming in the 69 degree water (this is the approximate temperature year round), and even daring ourselves to jump off the big dock!
The boat tour was guided by a park ranger, Charlie, who helped us spot the native wildlife. We saw many kinds of birds, including our favorite, the blue heron, as well as fish jumping out of the water, turtles and alligators sunning on logs and manatees floating and slowly gliding along the water’s surface. The information we learned from the park ranger about the history of the river and the wildlife living there was very interesting and refreshed our appreciation for our native surroundings. We really are so lucky to live in Tallahassee where our community and it’s surrounding areas have an abundance of beautiful nature, readily accessible, to enjoy and learn from.
When visiting Wakulla Springs, there are many activities to enjoy. There are plenty of picnic tables and pavilions to have a picnic or cookout at, as well as lot’s of open space to play sports. There are hiking trails too. When you’re ready to cool off you can go swimming in the spring and play in the sand. There are docks to walk and even jump off of and climb back up on to. There’s even a diving platform, high up in the air, with a lifeguard on duty, to jump way down to the spring from for the dare devils.
River Boat Tours
The River Boat Tour along the Wakulla River is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Tallahassee area. The 40-60 minute world-class wildlife viewing event takes visitors on a three mile loop downstream and back among majestic bald cypress trees, elegant wading birds and toothy alligators. Manatees are often sighted, but their presence is not dependable. A camera is highly recommended to capture the candid images of the river’s fauna.
The ranger-led tour not only highlights the wildlife, but often includes stories of human interactions with the spring. They sometimes feature the lives of indigenous peoples, movies filmed during the Edward Ball years, and/or the more recent adventures of explorations within the caves that bring water to the spring.
The River Boat Tours run 365 days a year weather permitting (temperatures must be above 40 degrees and tours are not conducted during thunderstorms.) The boats are 30 feet long and have a roof. There is also a wheelchair accessible boat that is available upon request.
The Waterfront Visitor’s Center opens at 9:30am and the first boat departs at 9:40am. Succeeding tours depart at varying times, depending on visitor demand. Greater visitation results in more frequent tours. The last tour of the day during Standard Time departs at 4:30pm EST. The last tour of the day during Daylight Saving Time is 5:00pm EDT. The cost of the tour is $8 for adults (13 years old and up), $5 for children (ages 3-12); under the age of three there is no charge.
Tickets are available on a first-come-first-served basis for the next scheduled tour of the day only. Because of the unpredictable and sudden nature of North Florida weather, tickets are not sold for tours beyond the next one scheduled. Reservations are not available. Groups of 20 or more are encouraged to make prior arrangements to assure tour accommodations.
Wakulla Springs State Park
Home of one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world, Wakulla Springs State Park plays host to an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, deer, and birds. Daily guided riverboat tours provide a closer view of wildlife, and glass bottom boat tours are offered when the water is clear. Swimming is a popular activity during the hot summer months. A nature trail offers a leisurely walk along the upland wooded areas of the park. The Wakulla Springs Lodge was built in 1937 by financier Edward Ball and is open year-round. A full-service dining room overlooks the spring; lodge meeting facilities offer an excellent place for retreats. Wakulla Springs State Park and Lodge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a National Natural Landmark.