Monday, July 13, 2009
Wakulla Springs State Park - Wakulla Springs, Florida
One of the most popular places in the Tallahassee area this time of year is Wakulla Springs State Park.
Located just south of the capital city, the park encompasses thousands of acres of fragile wilderness and protects one of the largest and deepest freshwater springs in the world. Divers using special equipment have explored the caves that open in the spring for miles and have descended to depths of over 300 feet.
The Wakulla Springs basin is rich in history. Evidence of prehistoric Native American hunters has been found here and divers have retrieved the bones of prehistoric animals, including mastodons, from the bottom of the spring. Other bones, in fact, can still be seen lying on the bottom 80-feet down from the glass-bottomed boats operated by the park service.
The Creek Prophet, Josiah Francis, established a village on the Wakulla River downstream from the springs after he fled Alabama at the end of the Creek War of 1813-1814. It was here that his daughter, Milly Francis, rescued a captured Georgia militiaman and became known as the Creek Pocahontas.
The land around the spring was purchased in 1934 by Florida industrialist Edward Ball, who saved it from development for decades. Ball built the historic Wakulla Springs Lodge in 1937 and zealously protected the property from unauthorized intrusion. Wakulla Springs is now a state park and is open to the public daily. The historic lodge offers dining and overnight stays and the park features glass-bottomed boats, river cruises, swimming, nature trails, picnic areas and much more.
To learn more about historic Wakulla Springs, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/wakullasprings.