It has always amazed me how much a place changes over time. Even animated objects seem to grow and mature as the season changes, much like a child. Some of them change for the better while others change for the worse.
It is a reminder, in some ways, that even rocks never say the same.
Back in fourth grade, when my parents believed I was old enough to start to travel and remember what I saw. We took a road trip to visit Florida. And even though our last stop was the Disney, my parents wanted me to see the real Florida before I started to study it.
So they loaded my Dad’s station wagon with suitcases and camping equipment (this would also be the last time we camped, turns out we like hotel much better) and headed North. Part camping trip, and part we are off to see the world, we spent two weeks exploring Florida.
One place that stuck in my memory from that long ago trip was Silver Springs. Part amusement park, part zoological park, and part ecological park. Visitors could test their courage on rides, meet Florida’s wildlife, or look at the springs from a glass bottom boat. This was the place I tried to steal a snake.
So on an overcast day, while visit my parents, we decided to visit this place again. This time, with my furchild, Skyy along. It turns out the Silver Springs no longer has it rides, but still stays open as a state park. Dogs are allowed, in the park, except on the glass bottom boat, which was fine with us because Skyy doesn’t do too well in moving vehicles.
The sign, the fountain and the bridge have stayed the same. I can remember walking across it as a child, excited about the activities on the day ahead. Once we paid the fees, we wander around the park. For the most part, the gardens were kept nature, with Florida wildflowers and cypress trees. Most of the rides and attractions are long gone, but there are hints of the past. I remember the white house in the distance, what it was used for, I couldn’t tell you. It was an old antebellum looking place, maybe used for some sort of show, or a chance to see how Floridians lived before the railroad came down.
We walked around the path and talking about what we remember of the place. Skyy had fun sniffing every flower, tree, and squirrel she came across. A couple of times, I had to stop her so I could remove all the souvenir from her fur.
Hint: If you bring your dog, bring a brush, especially if they have long fur, because they will pick up a lot of tag- alongs.
She was also very interested in the water, every place we stopped on the path her little nose when over the railing to look down at the water.
We finished up by having a quick snack at the snack bar and allowing Skyy to have some water.
She was exhausted by the time we got back to the car and slept the whole hour drive back to my parents’ place.
It should have been sad to see what had become of a place I had loved and had such great memories. But in some ways Silver Springs change was inevitable. It had been a fun and exciting in its youth and adulthood, but now it had hit retirement age, stepped back and became slower pace.
It had become another reminder of Florida’s Gold Age of Tourist.
But even the rock change in time.