Conserving The World’s Largest and Deepest Freshwater Spring
We are sad to report the passing of long-time river tour guide Mr. Don Gavin on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Don was known the world over for his unique view of his beloved Wakulla River. Many articles during the past 40 years have featured Don, such as this one: http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/wakulla-springs-isnt-as-clear-as-it-used-to-be-but-musical-tour-guides/987545
His fireside chats and rumbling laugh will be missed.
Welcome to Wakulla Springs
We are a Citizen Support Organization for the park and welcome new members any time. You may link to application information above (Join Us).
Our latest newsletter can be accessed via the Events/News link above. The last Park newsletter is also available there.
The Tent Is Up
Block excavations to search for clues about the Second Spanish period have started under the Big Top. Volunteers still needed until end of April. Archaeology: If you want to know about the people living on the Wakulla River and around the main spring, please join our campfire program during the Archaeology Festival on Saturday, March 25, 10-3 for Lunch With the Archaeologists. More information is available by clicking on events link above. The work on a large block excavation west of the Lodge is sponsored in part by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, the Aucilla Research Institute and our organization.
TRACY REVELS has re-written the “Watery Eden” book and “Upon the Face of the Waters” is now available at The Lodge. The book is a Friends of Wakulla Springs fundraiser.
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 Archaeological and Historic 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
For park specific information please go to: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park-activities/Wakulla-Springs#Boat-Tours
- $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 1995. 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 us 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!
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, Phil Gerrell Photographer the scuba divers of the Woodville Karst Plain Project and Bonnie Allen – Assistant park manager. All images are copyright of their respective photographers.