“Butterflies, a bubble bee and love bugs…oh my, George Takei!”
Traveling through the hills of Dunnellon, I had been wondering what to expect upon my visit to Rainbow Springs State Park. My first turn onto the premises, time and rain had dampened a foray into a two hour tubing adventure at $10 per person. With instructions from a park ranger with piercing green eyes and three left turns, I had arrived at the main recreation area. For reference, there had been three different entrances for this park. Each had been for one of the following; camping, tubing, and general recreation. Right before going through park gate, I had been distracted by two physical features of the area, one a small waterfall on the left and the other, a sloping hill on the right. Passing through the gate with the handy Florida State park pass, I had thought this might be worthy of the time and gas. Coming around the gift shop, I had seen the river at 3 o’clock and slopping picnic grounds at 7 o-clock. What had drawn my attention to the left though, a sign regarding waterfalls. Waterfalls and Florida had seemed an oxymoron; however, this had been the motivation for the drive. Seeing snapshots for Top 10 Springs throughout Central Florida from the Orlando Sentinel, I had been curious what I might be missing. Visiting 8 out of the top 10 springs, what had made this one #4? Walking towards my intended target, the hilly topography had been refreshing sight. Within a matter of minutes, I had come to see three different waterfalls. While not extravagant or huge, it had been a welcome visual treat.
After soaking up these views, another sign for Butterfly Gardens had drawn me into an area with variety of plants and flowers. Yes, there had been a few butterflies, tons of love bugs, and a solemn bubble bee. After that, remnants of an old zoo had drawn me around a loop. After working up a sweat, it had seemed natural progression to coalesce to the river and springs. In those waters had been a few underwater cropping of rocks to stand on. During that dip, a train had rumbled by on the nearby tracks. That had generated an unexpected bit of excitement. The rumbling sound had resonated through the concrete pier into the spring waters.
Rainbow Springs had been quite a journey into “Undiscovered Country.” Despite the overcast day, this park had been one of the best experiences in Florida. If you had been seeking contrasting experiences within one park, take a ride out to Dunnellon.