Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
The spring run at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Wakulla Springs is one outflow of a large system of submerged caverns developed by water flows in the Floridan Aquifer. Wakulla Cave itself is part of the longest and deepest known freshwater, underground cave system on Earth. 12 miles of the conduits that feed Wakulla Springs have been surveyed and mapped. In December, 2007, divers exploring the cave system beneath north Florida were able to physically connect the network at Leon Sinks with the network of conduits that feed to and leave from Wakulla Springs. Between the two local networks, more than 28 miles of cave system have been surveyed and mapped.
Average flow rate at Wakulla Springs itself is about 400,000 US gallons per minute but a high flow occurred on April 11, 1973 and flow was measured that day at 860,000 US gallons of water per minute.
Edward Ball was the financial manager for the DuPont family who sold the 6,000 acres that surround the springs to the State of Florida. Florida manages the property as a recreational park and as a state forest/wildlife refuge. The property is a designated National Natural Landmark and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Edward Ball built the Wakulla Springs Lodge on the property in 1937, and the Lodge is still open for business year round.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park offers swimming areas separate from the springs, swamps and river. In the wildlife areas you'll find bass, gar, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, various snakes, turtles, birds, manatees (especially in the winter) and alligators.
This area was occupied by Paleo Indians about 12,000 years ago. Some of the evidence of their presence can be found in the bottom of the springs: the bones of slain giant sloths, mastodons, camels and giant armadillos. To see this just take advantage of one of the glass bottom boat tours offered of the springs and river area all year round.
Day use hours run from 8 am to sunset. Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is about 12 miles south of Tallahassee, off State Roads 61 & 267.
Swimmers and divers at Wakulla Springs
Photo of swimmers at Wakulla Springs courtesy of Tim Ross
Map of Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park courtesy of Florida State Parks