Conserving The World’s Largest and Deepest Freshwater Spring
Welcome to Wakulla Springs
Please register for our 20th Anniversary Annual Membership Gathering, Sunday, February 8. Click on Events for more information.
What is this Park?
The main spring is the world’s largest and deepest freshwater spring, located near Tallahassee, Florida with Swimming, Guided River Boat Tours, Bird Watching, Historic Lodge, Picnicking, Concessions, Nature Trails, Snorkeling, Interpretive Exhibits, Horse Trails and more. Open 365 days per year. There are more than 80 other sinkholes, streams and windows into the aquifer within the 6,800-acre park (hence Wakulla Springs).
This vast natural freshwater spring has a long and fascinating history. The first documented native people inhabited the area during the Paleo period, 20,000 years ago. They hunted large land animals (megafauna) such as mastodons, mammoths, bison, saber tooth tigers, giant armadillos, sloths and a variety of birds. As the ice age waned around 8,000 years ago and the water levels rose, humans moved to these inland springs. There has a been a continuous human presence (and probably alligator gars and alligators) ever since then.
Mystery surrounds the early history of Wakulla Springs. The word “Wakulla” may be a modern spelling of ancient Native American origin meaning “river of the crying bird” or “mystery.” Spanish explorers interpreted the Indian word for the spring as guarcara. The Seminoles in the late 18th century began calling the river Wakala. …la is said to mean “a spring of water.”
Edward Ball purchased the property in 1934 and developed it as an attraction focusing on wildlife preservation and the surrounding habitat. The State of Florida bought half of the existing park property in 1986. The other half was added in 2000 to protect the quality of the groundwater which feeds the spring and the large Cherokee Sink.
Local residents and visitors from all over the world enjoy this first magnitude spring for its beautiful diverse wildlife, deep water spring and swimming area, river boat tour and the Wakulla Springs Lodge. Contact the Wakulla Springs Lodge for lodging, catering and events.
Wakulla Springs State Park is designated a National Historic and Archaeological District and a National Natural Landmark.
Hours of Operation
The park is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.
Swimming area opens at 9:00am
- $6.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
- $4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.
- $2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
Boat Tour Fees:
- $8.00 per adult.
- $5.00 per child, 12 and under
Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park
Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park is a non-profit citizens support organization started in 1996. The organization dedicates itself to supporting the stewardship of natural and cultural resources through various means. Each year the Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park seeks out those businesses and organizations, both for profit and non-profit, that would like to join them as Business Partners.
Business partners are willing to offer their support through either cash donations or “In-Kind” services such as advertising, printing, price discounts on purchases and more.
Please click on the link in the top navigation bar, to view our greatly appreciated business partners. Please patronize these businesses and thank them for supporting us.
Members & Volunteers Needed
Every member is a vital part of our ongoing outreach. We encourage you to talk to your neighborhoods and friends, particularly those north of the county line. With your help we can help preserve this great natural treasure, join in and become a member!
Endowment Fund Established
A contribution to the Friends of Wakulla Springs State Park Endowment fund is a gift that keeps on giving. Contact the Community Foundation of North Florida (850) 222-2899 — www.cfnf.org to be part of caring for Wakulla Springs State Park forever.
Protecting a Florida Treasure
– The Sunshine State is filled with hundreds of fresh water springs. A family trip to Wakulla Springs reminds commentator Andrew Skerritt of the beauty of this natural resource and the need to conserve it for future generations. Read or listen to the complete article.
Where’s the Water Come From?
– On Aug. 16, 2011, Dr. Todd Kincaid gave a presentation to the Board Of County Commissioners in support of the Hydrogeology Consortium and Wakulla Watershed Coalition’s “Water Transport” resolution. “Where’s the Water Come From? Toward a Water Budget for Wakulla Spring”
Friends of Wakulla Springs gratefully acknowledges the help by the many people that have contributed images to this website including: Florida State Historical Library, David Moynahan Photographer, Robert Thompson Photographer, Rob Gelhardt Photographer, the scuba divers of the Woodville Karst Plain Project and Bonnie Allen – Assistant park manager. All images are copyright of their respective photographers.