Once upon a time before I-4, there was a part of old Florida that drew locals and tourists to an area that was once an old phosphate mine. When the mining drew to a close the area was recreated as a tourist attraction and named Rainbow Springs. In the 30’s you could tour the Springs, stay in a lodge and shop in the gift shop, and even see some of the local animal residents in a little zoo. The Springs grew over the next few decades and became its own little theme park featuring boat rides and even a rodeo.
But then life along I-4 changed when Disney World opened and the same crowds that once flocked to the Springs no longer did and Rainbow Springs closed. But then, there was new life when Rainbow Springs became a Florida State Park. Ever since the 90’s we could once again stroll the paths, swim and enjoy those beautiful waterfalls.
This new Ann-Venture took about two hours to head up to Rainbow Springs on a cool Saturday morning. It’s the old Florida that I love to discover and remember simpler times. Walking along well-trod brick pathways, see the rough stone enclosures that were used for the zoo, and the phenomenal colors of the spring. For a mere $2 entry fee per person it’s worth a step back in time that many Floridians may fondly remember. The volunteers love to tell you about Rainbow Springs and they’re an important part of keeping the park alive.