Scenic USA - Florida

Rainbow River

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Rainbow River  - Rainbow River State Park, Dunnellon, Florida

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Hoping to explain the origin of the country's natural springs, Pierre Perrault and Edmond Mariotte proposed an explanation for these mysterious phenomena River Paddlers - Rainbow River State Park, Dunnellon, Florida in the mid 1600s. The two French physicists collected data for a period of years, and calculations proved the amount of precipitation that fell on the Seine River Basin was quite sufficient to feed a free flowing spring. As one might imagine, a variety of early misguided ideas persisted about springs for centuries, beginning with Aristotle.
     Today we know what boils up in natural spring had once dropped down in the form of rain or snow. And with Florida's abundant rainfall and porous earth the state is famous for hundreds of free flowing springs. One of the largest Florida springs was made famous by its glass-bottom boat tours, dating as far back as 1870. The famed Silver Springs is one of the world's largest artesian limestone springs, pumping out over a half billion gallons of crystal-clear water every day.
     One of Marion County's three major springs, the privately owned Rainbow Springs opened as an attraction in the 1930s. Once known as Wekiwa Creek and Blue Run, the name was changed to Rainbow Springs to draw in more tourists to the Sunshine State. Adding a zoo, rodeo, gift shops and a monorail during the mid 1900s was not enough to survive the lure of Orlando area theme parks. With the steady number of tourists dwindling, by the mid 1970s Rainbow Springs had closed.
     A late addition to the state park ranks, Rainbow Springs State Park was added in 1990. Nearby Dunnellon, the headwaters River Snorkler - Rainbow River State Park, Dunnellon, Florida for this short spring-fed river are surrounded by Rainbow Springs State Park. Welling up from numerous vents instead of one large depression cone, Rainbow Springs is the fourth-largest in Florida. The park's crystal clear waters are popular for swimming, snorkeling and canoeing. And with Florida's sultry summer heat, the springs are a great place for cooling off. Three entrances are spread out over the 1400 acre park, leading to the Headsprings Entrance, the campground and the put-in for Rainbow River tubing.

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