Florida, Marion County Attractions

Florida, Marion County Attractions
Marion County, Florida, and its coterminous metropolitan area of Ocala, are comprised of high and low rolling hills, peppered with oaks, pines, and palm trees. The county has three sizable lakes within its borders that are perfect for recreational activities, ranging from swimming to fishing and boating to water-skiing. In addition to this and a number of other attractions, the mild subtropical climate and close proximity to major cities make this area a favored tourist destination within the Sunshine State.

Lake Weir & Carney Island Park

This 560-acre park offers a range of outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hiking, biking, bird-watching, swimming, and canoeing. Families can enjoy picnicking by the shores of the lake, while fisherman can take advantage of some of the region's best bass fishing.

Carney Island Park
13275 SE 115th Avenue
Ocklawaha, FL 32179
(352) 288-8999
floridahikes.com/carneyisland

Silver Springs Nature Theme Park

This 350-acre nature theme park offers visitors evidence of pre-historic animal life in and around the natural springs, considered to be the largest artesian spring system in the world. Glass-bottom boat tours accord a view of the vast underwater life present in the park's waterways, while other tours focus on the region's wildlife. Moreover, the world's largest bear exhibit is located on the property as well.

Silver Springs Nature Theme Park
5656 E. Silver Springs Boulevard
Silver Springs, FL 34488
(352) 236-2121
silversprings.com

Wild Waters Family Water Park

Families can enjoy six acres of water-themed fun, through attractions such as the 450,000 gallon fan-shaped wave pool, speed flumes, and two giant, twin-tunneled water slides. There is also a supervised children's area and video arcade. And those who just want to relax can soak up sun on the man-made beach or under the shade of oak and palm trees.

Wild Waters Family Water Park
5656 E. Silver Springs Boulevard
Silver Springs, FL 34488
(352) 236-2121
wildwaterspark.com

Rainbow Springs State Park

This extremely popular park along the Rainbow River encompasses 600 acres of rolling hills and woodlands, plus another 400 acres of campground. Visitors can enjoy shady-trailed nature walks, swimming and snorkeling, or lunch in the covered picnic area. The park has a small entrance fee per person.

Rainbow Springs State Park
19158 S.W. 81st Pl. Road
Dunnellon, FL 34432
(352) 465-8555
visitflorida.com/articles/rainbow-springs-state-park

Historic Downtown Square

Visitors can walk through this scenic area in Ocala, while shopping at a bevy of stores, galleries and boutiques. There are also a number of casual and fine dining restaurants around the square, and the Ocala Visitor's Center is only a few blocks away. The square often hosts festivals and cultural events as well.

Ocala's Historic Downtown Square
SE 1st Avenue
Ocala, FL 34480
ocalafl.org

Appleton Museum of Art

Guests can marvel at the plethora of American, European, African, Islamic, and Asian antiquities found at the museum, considered to be one of the premier art repositories in the region. Additionally, there is a year-round schedule of cultural events, educational programs, and traveling exhibitions.

Appleton Museum of Art
4333 E. Silver Springs Boulevard
Ocala, FL 34470
(352) 291-4455
appletonmuseum.org

Discovery Center

The City of Ocala created the center as a place where kids could learn about the world around them, particularly as it relates to science, in both a fun and informative way. Programs and workshops focus on topics like geology and astronomy, while summer camps combine recreation with education.

Discovery Center
1211 S.E. 22nd Road
Ocala, FL 34471
(352) 401-3900
ocalafl.org/COO.aspx?id=818

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing

Those with an appreciation for hot rods and race cars will thoroughly enjoy Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, which traces the history of drag racing. The complex features numerous drag racers from all eras, including old vintage models, as well as artifacts and memorabilia.

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing
13700 S.W. 16th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34473
(877) 271-3278
garlits.com

Ocala Speedway

Watch cars ranging from street stock to super late model to V-8 thunderstock race along this low-banked, 3/8-mile "D-shaped" clay track. Renovated in 2008, the track now features grandstands, lighting, sound system, restrooms, and concrete pits.

Ocala Speedway
9050 N.W. Gainesville Road
Ocala, FL 34482
(352) 622-9400
ocalaspeedway.com

Ocala Carriage & Tours

Visitors can take a horse-drawn trolley on a leisurely one-hour tour of the Ocala area, which some have called the "Horse Capital of the World." The ride goes past some of the area's most prominent horse farms, where guests will catch glimpses of beautiful thoroughbreds, quarter horses, and others as they graze, gallop and play. Expeditions for special occasions can also be accommodated.

Ocala Carriage & Tours
4776 N.W. 110th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34482
(352) 867-8717
ocalacarriage.com

Article Written By Mark Heidelberger

Mark Heidelberger has been writing for more than 17 years, with recent articles appearing on various websites. He has also written, rewritten and developed dozens of feature-film screenplays and manages a number of film and television writers. He holds a master's degree from University of California, Los Angeles in film and television producing.

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