Wakulla Springs, located near Tallahasee, Florida, is the world’s largest and deepest freshwater spring. It was also our first day trip while visiting my sister during Jack's Fall Break.
The park offers a swimming area, complete with a diving platform over the deepest part of the springs, river boat tours, nature trails, horse trails, a historic lodge and more. We took advantage of the lodge, river boat tour and swimming area on this visit.
Upon arrival we purchased our tickets for the 12:30 boat ride. Since we had about 20 minutes to kill, we wandered up to the historic lodge where we got to see Old Joe. Old Joe is an 11-foot alligator that died in 1966. It is rumored that he was 300 years old.
After checking out Old Joe, we purchased ice cream for the kids and boiled peanuts for the adults. You can never go wrong with ice cream. At the lodge we also learned that Creature from the Black Lagoon and the early Tarzan movies were filmed at this location.
On our river boat tour, we managed to grab the very front seats in the boat – with two 3-year-old boys I was more than a little nervous on several occasions, but we survived. No boys jumped out of the boat and thankfully no alligators got too close!
While there are many birds and turtles to see in this wildlife sanctuary, the biggest treat is the manatees and alligators that live in this spring.
This was my first time to see a manatee. It almost looked like a large smooth rock floating in the river. It never came above the water, just floated lazily next to our boat.
The highlight of the boat ride was probably the alligators. I have never seen so many of these creatures in one place. To be honest, they make me a bit nervous.
For the most part they just ignored us. Our river boat captain would pull up right next to the bank so that we could get a good glimpse of them. One turned its back to us, preferring to nap in the sun than entertain tourists.
Toward the end or our ride we came across two alligators that were quite large. The guide joked that they must be related to Old Joe. Then one of them started to raise its head and come a little closer to us... our guide backed the boat away in a hurry. I tried not to imagine the worst – like the fact that our two little boys would have been a good gator snack.
After our boat ride (which the kids got a bit restless on), we headed to the swimming area of the spring. It made me a bit anxious that the kids were swimming in the SAME spring as the alligators we had just glimpsed.
Supposedly the alligators never come over to the swimming area, but you can believe I kept a watchful eye out for anything mysterious looking in the crystal clear water!
While we sat watching the children splash in the water and stir up the "al-a-gee" I sat back and watched as a bird on the opposite bank dove out the sky toward the water. Just as it neared the water, an alligator jumped up and snatched it. I about fell over. The alligator must have jumped 3-4 feet in the air to grab the bird. I had no idea they could jump like that.
Needless to say I was VERY nervous about the kids after that. The kids had no clue and enjoyed the water, even though it was freezing! A trip to Wakulla Springs is worth the visit just to see all of the animals in their natural habitat.
After our time at the springs, we went back to Tallahassee for a late lunch at the Midtown Caboose. Midtown Caboose offers a ton of different gourmet burgers.
Since it was the week before Canadian Thanksgiving, I decided to try to the Oh Canada! Burger. This consisted of a burger topped with hashbrowns, Canadian bacon and a fried egg, sandwiched between two pancakes with a side of maple syrup. It was delicious and I ate the ENTIRE thing. Midtown Caboose is definitely worth a visit if you like burgers.
Fall Break Recap: