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Sunday, June 22, 2008

10 Tampa Bay water playgrounds to chill in

Posted: Jun 20, 2008
Rainbow Springs State Park. 19158 S 81st Place Road, Dunnellon in Marion County.

This is a two-hour drive north, but once there you might have trouble deciding whether you want to visit the man-made falls first or just plunge into the chilly 72-degree springs. After the immediate, mind-numbing shock, it can be wonderfully refreshing. The springs are crystal clear, and you can see fish, turtles and places where the water bubbles out of the sandy bottom (at a rate of 450-million gallons a day). The falls and accompanying gardens are remnants of what was once a tourist attraction called Blue Springs, which featured glass-bottomed boats, a monorail and a zoo. Facilities are clean and plentiful, and — pretend like you didn't read this if you don't want to spend more money — there are a concession stand and gift shop. In addition to the big swimming hole, you'll find a smaller wading area for tiny tots and canoe and kayak rentals. And the best part? Admission is just $1. The park also has a new tubing entrance, at 10830 SW 180th Avenue Road on the east side of the river. From there you can rent a tube, ride a tram upriver and then float back to your point of origin, not needing a second car. The float trip is about 90-minutes long. Sounds like a great day in Florida to us.
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