The kids were a little freaked out to see all the fish as they do most of their swimming in pools but they got use to it! We went for a swim before dinner and it was refreshingly cool. After biking around the campground we had a campfire before bed.
The next day started with a relaxed morning, getting laundry done, playing shuffleboard, and playing at the playground. We were all excited to get going though and grabbed our tubes and hit the river. We leisurely floated down the river for 2 hours with a gentle current pushing us along.
There was lots of turtles and fish and we laughed at the homes along the shore with the "alligator crossing" signs.
There couldn't possibly be alligators in this water that they send unsuspecting tourists down in tubes! Could there be? We continued to laugh but all sat a little higher in our tubes with our eyes on high alert for anything moving in the water or on shore.
It was a really neat experience just floating down the river with nowhere to go or anything to do. It really gave us a much needed rest and time to chat uninterrupted as a family with no phones ringing or anything else pulling at our attention. It was a great morning!
After lunch we headed back to the playground and met a really nice family from Orlando. We had planned on going to the "head springs" a few miles down the road to go swimming that afternoon and they decided to join us. They had swam there before so they weren't surprised to see the warning signs to be careful of alligators when swimming!
We could not believe it and thought it was a joke. Now they tell us, after we spent the morning tubing down that very same river! Our new friends said that they were visiting friends that live on the river and were swimming in this exact spot and saw an alligator about 15 ft away from them in the water. We were shocked that all of these people (a lot of them locals) were swimming where there could be alligators! Apparently, you were only likely to see an alligator if there wasn't many people around. We thought that made sense and there was lots of people here. The water sure was a beautiful aqua blue color, and it sure was boiling hot outside so ....... we did as the locals do, and jumped in. After cooling off with no alligator sightings we headed back to the campground for a BBQ. Still can't believe we tubed down a river that had alligators in it!
We got up the next morning, after dreaming of alligators all night, and met our friends at the playground to say good-bye. Everyone hated to say bye but we were eager to get on the road and get to our next destination - Disney World!
We had a nice drive through Ocala National Forest on our way to Dunellon and arrived at Rainbow Springs State Park late afternoon. We were all looking forward to Rainbow Springs as we had read about tubing down Rainbow River months ago when we first started planning our trip. The river was beautiful and was as clear as we had read about. It reminded us of caribbean water where you can see from the surface all the way down to the sand at the bottom.