Rainbow Springs has changed over time from being a semi-amusement park to a zoo and then been restored to its natural state, but it has always been loved by College of Central Florida students.
With its vast open field, cooling springs and jumping dock, it is the picturesque of summertime. Not only are the springs available to the public, but just down the road is a tube launch where students, families and more can float down the river’s current for two relaxing hours.
“It’s freezing cold, but it’s well worth [the fun],” Kendra Kirby said. Since the springs are constantly at 72 degrees, some find the water to be a wakeup call or even just a way to numb the muscles. Either way, being in the water keeps exams and homework off the mind.
Others as stated use the river to let go of all the tension-growing stress. Two hours may seem like a long time, and to those who are easily sunburned – it is.
“I didn’t even notice my sunburn until I had work. Then everyone had me laughing when they pointed out I had a tan line from the tube,” Emily Briggs said.
Every time is different though, whether it is a large group trying to keep a hold of all the tubes, or a family’s make-shift raft to keep a cooler afloat, or even just watching a couple switch back and forth holding the bag of electronics while the other swims. It is always an interesting place.
If one continues to explore the state park around the springs they will visit the varying waterfalls that it has to offer in natural beauty as well as a look into the past with the remnants of the zoo still in place.
“I remember going with the family and wandering to the zoo. My brother and I saw one of the old exhibits was only enclosed by posts and rope, so naturally we went inside. There was a little hut and for fun we decided to goof off and act like cavemen gathering wood. It was a blast,” Brandon Dolan said.
The Dolan family holds a state park pass from Rainbow Springs, which allows up to 10 people to get in for free, and gives free parking for tubing down the river.
A reminder to always plan ahead, while Rainbow Springs is a state park, it does get busy from time to time. Holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day tend to bring large crowds in early until around four in the afternoon. Also remember all safety gear, such as noodles or those who cannot swim and sunscreen for extended periods of time.
So go ahead, jump off that dock into Rainbow Springs – you will not regret it. For more information, contact the ranger on duty during your next visit or go to https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Rainbow-Springs.
By: Taylor Champion