Published: March 5th 2009March 2nd 2009
This is one of the man made waterfalls that recirculates back to the river through a pumping system.
We were on our way to Ocala from Crystal River and stopped in at Rainbow River State Park. Our timing was perfect - we hit the peak of azalia season in this part of Florida. Like other Florida State Parks, this started out as a "theme park" type attraction. It was "Gaudy Florida" said the engaging volunteer we talked to. It had glass bottom boats, man made waterfalls, a skyway tram shaped like two leaves, an aviay, wild animals, etc. It fell into disuse as so many theme park properties did when the Disney empire began its growth and when I-75 took visitors away from state highways. To their enormous credit, local folks protested to save Rainbow Springs from condo development and the State of Florida purchased it, and continues to put a great deal into it (with the help of many volunteers) as a restored natural area. The waters from the spring are crystal clear and 72degrees all year long, making for excellent swimming and miles of tubing along the river. We were here in early March. Azaleas and red buds and many other flowering shrubs were at peak. Everything is indiginous except three man made waterfalls left over from
the park's "commercial" days. The falls were deemed so beautiful that the state decided to keep them. Oddly enough the waterfalls are turned off each evening. They operate through a pumping system circulating the water from the river up to beautiful man made rock formations, creating the falls that return the water to the river. A couple was planning their wedding at the park's gazebo when we visited. This little gem of a park has nice walkways and the option of more rugged terrain for hikers of all abilities. Great kayacking spot. For us it was a nice way to break up a trip, stretch our legs and enjoy some very fine natural beauty. You can "do it" in less than an hour OR savor it over most of the day. The price is sure right on this wonderful park - "$1 per person.
There are more photos below