Planning a visit to Florida? The Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is a must-see! Our kids loved the boat ride, and we spent hours playing in the springs.
The Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is a stunning nature preserve about 14 miles south of Tallahassee, where the kids and I went to visit my parents last fall. We spent an entire day there, and I know the kids will want to go back when we visit again. Mission San Luis is another Tallahassee attraction that we recommend. And, of course, Florida beaches are always wonderful!
Wakulla Springs River Boat Tour
We started our visit at Edward Ball State Park off with a boat tour. They sometimes run glass bottom boat tours, but the day we visited they only had regular boats. There was plenty to see above water!
You can call ahead if you really want to ride on a glass bottom boat. At the time of this writing, those tours only run at noon, 1p.m., and 2 p.m., and even then it is dependent on both weather and water clarity.
Regular (non glass bottom) boat tours run 365 days a year so long as it is at least 40 degrees out. There are wheelchair accessible boats, and a manual wheelchair is available for use if requested.
Vibrant Nature at Wakulla Springs State Park
These funny formations caught our attention right away! Called Cypress knees, these are the roots of Cypress trees, growing above ground.
Boat rides are a great way to see alligators at Wakulla Springs. This gator even graced us with a smile!
This American white ibis was one of several that we saw on our boat ride.
Turtles are a bit less exotic, but always fun to see!
I found the Anhingas we saw fascinating. This one has its wings outstretched to dry, because it’s been swimming. Anhingas are sometimes called snakebirds, because when they go swimming they only keep their heads and necks above water, making them look like snakes in the water! This is also why they have to work to get dry after a swim!
Do you see the black and yellow striped things in the water in this photo? I thought they were snakes, but it turns out they were baby alligators, sleeping next to their mama alligator.
Wakulla Springs Swimming
After our boat ride, we cooled down by going into the springs ourselves! Alligators are in the same body of water, but as reptiles they have to stay on the edges. The water in the middle is too cold for them, so we can be on one bank and they can be on the other side without any problems. Kind of amazing!
My favorite part of swimming in the springs was getting close to manatees that live there! The water was too cloudy to see them well when we were there, but you could still see their outlines in the water.
Wakulla Springs Boat Tour Video Footage
My kids LOVED going on a boat tour! We weren’t lucky enough to go on a glass-bottom tour, but there was plenty to see on a regular boat. Here you can see some turtles and an alligator that we found. The kids’ excitement comes through clearly in the audio. The boats have awnings that provide shade – important in the Florida sun.
Wakulla Springs State Park Highlights
Here are some highlights from our time at the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.
Have you visited Wakulla Springs? Is there another Tallahassee-area attraction that we should visit next time we are in Florida? Please share in the comments below, or on my Facebook page. You can also tag me on Instagram.