Ocala has beautiful springs and landscapes! It has many horse farms across these beautiful landscapes. Not to mention the culture is full of amazing history that dates back to 1539 when the Spanish discovered this beautiful city.
Brief History of Ocala:
From the ability to find fresh water bubbling from the springs, to the diversity in the wildlife, this rich ecosystem was home to native American Indians before settlement. Tools and other artifacts have been found in Ocala to show their presence in the area. In 1539 a Spanish explorer came across this Indian town that they called Ocale. Many of the Native American Indians during this visit where enslaved by the Spanish.
Like many other Florida Indian tribes they were wiped out, enslaved and scattered
during the early 1700s when English led Creek raiders into these parts of Florida. For many years after the English came through Ocala the area was almost void of all people. Then during the mid-1700s groups of Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama made their way south to occupy the former Ocale lands. The Spanish called them Cimmerons or "wild ones." The Creek languages did not include the letter "R," so they adapted the term to "Simmelons." Over time it became the word Seminoles that we know today.
In December of 1835, resistance to settlers building houses on Seminole land turned to
open conflict when a party of warriors led by Osceola killed the Indian agent, Wiley Thompson. Much of the combat of the early years of the war took place in the region around the current city of Ocala.
In 1846 steps were taken to organize a town at the little frontier settlement that had
stared to grow around Fort King. Then in 1881 the railroad arrived and brought tourists who came to Florida seeking better health and winter warmth. Since 1943, when the first thoroughbred horse farm was established in Marion County, Ocala has become the Horse Capital of the World.
Things to do:
Here are a few of the things you can do while visiting Ocala:
1.) Silver Springs State Park is a great place to visit one of most productive freshwater springs in the area. This has been a major tourist destination since the late 19th century.
2.) Ocala Historic District, which was built during the late 19th-century boom, is where many elaborate homes were built for the wealthier citizens. More than a hundred years later, these houses are still as beautiful as ever.
3.) Discovery Center is an entertaining and informative center that seeks to teach young
people about the world around them. Special programs and workshops focus on topics like astronomy and safety, while summer camps integrate play with educational opportunities.
4.) Ocala National Forest, the busiest of Florida's three national forests, stretches
out across more than 383,000 acres, most of which lie in Marion County. Its main attractions are its many lakes, springs, ponds and also the trails that go all throughout the forest.