Wild Waters

Wild Waters

Wild Waters water park was located in Silver Springs, Florida. It was a small park compared to modern standards, but offered a more relaxed atmosphere compared to its larger competitors. Wild Waters was the sister park of the Silver Springs Nature Theme Park, one of the nation’s first national attractions and home to the world famous Glass Bottom Boat tours. Silver Springs was a popular filming location due to its exotic surroundings. Tarzan, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and scenes for several television shows were shot at Silver Springs.

Wild Waters
The 450,000 gallon wave pool would alternate between calm water and generating waves after a certain period of time. The waves would reach 4 feet tall in the deepest end of the pool.

Wild Waters was built in 1978 by ABC Television. The water park was one of the first in the South. There were shady picnic areas, a snack bar, gift shop, and an open-air fast food counter. Wild Waters quickly became a favorite Florida tourist destination. The water park helped nearby Ocala to prosper from tourists for many years until Orlando became the primary Florida tourist destination due to Disney World and other major attractions.

Wild Waters
Osceola’s Revenge and Bunyan’s Bend were dual flumes that were a part of the Silver River Flumes area. Both flumes began at the same point, but did not run parallel and had different patterns.
Wild Waters
The Silver River Flumes were located in the center of Wild Waters under the canopy of large trees. The water park was one of the first in the nation to use fiberglass flumes.
Wild Waters
The Silver River Flumes ended at the same splash pool, now covered in a green algae.
Wild Waters
Wild Waters only dual speed flumes were called the Silver Bullet. They ran side by side and ended in a splash pool. Unlike newer speed flumes, these did not go straight down from the top.

Wild Waters

Wild Waters
Cool Kids Cove was a kids water ride area that included slides and tunnels.

In 1971, Silver Springs was designated a National Natural Landmark but it was not until 1993 that thorough scientific studies of the springs were done and wildlife rehabilitation had begun. The State of Florida purchased the property, but allowed private companies to continue operating the attractions. Palace Entertainment managed Wild Waters and Silver Springs Park since 2002. Former Governor Rick Scott allowed Palace Entertainment to end their contract in 2013, which was supposed to run until 2029. As a result, Wild Waters and Silver Springs Park were placed under the control of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Park Service. After the state took over, downgrades in service and entertainment were made. Wild Waters closed permanently in 2016. State officials cited financial reasons for closing the park, but the main reason was that the state wanted to return the property back to a more natural state, with less of a focus on man-made attractions. Construction crews began demolishing Wild Waters in December 2018.

Wild Waters

Wild Waters
Graffiti and broken glass litter the closed bath house and gift shop.
Wild Waters
The Hurricane, a large figure 8 double flume was the tallest ride in the park. Standing 80 feet tall, riders used tubes that were carried to the top.
Wild Waters
Alligator Ambush was constructed in 2008. The ride consisted of an enclosed water flume that exited into a slide funnel referred to as a toilet bowl, which exited through another small tube into an open chute.

Wild Waters

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4 Replies to “Wild Waters”

  1. This really brings back a lot of fun memories for me, my family and I visited Silver Springs Water Park in the early ’70s, when I was about 8 yrs old. I’m 54 now, we also rode in one of the glass bottom boats the article mentioned!

    Like

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