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The glass-bottomed boat was for many years the major tourist attraction in Florida.  Wakulla Springs, Rainbow Springs and Silver Springs all featured the boats–the thrill ride of their day.  Silver Springs, the granddaddy of all pre-Disney entertainments, still runs three boat rides, plus a jeep ride so full of exhaust fumes that it’s a wonder the passengers aren’t asphyxiated while looking at what remains of the Silver Springs “jungle.”  On the day I visited, I saw an overstuffed cow, three ponies, and an agitated emu. Yet it’s easy to see what the appeal was despite the panicked state of the park today, inches from closure.  Though you may feel swindled at the gate, it’s best to travel back to 1950, when Silver Springs had a legitimate “wow” factor.   You may never have been this close to a macaw in your life.  Neat-o!

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