I was so excited about visiting Rock Springs, I have always wanted to take my kids tubing down a real river in an American National Park!
Rock Springs is less than an hour drive North of Orlando and really easy to find.
You can take your own floats to use which are potentially cheaper from Walmart if you don’t mind blowing them up or you have a pump to do it for you. We didn’t have our own and to save the hassle of starting the day with a shopping trip and faffing around with blowing up inflatables as well as trying to entice children out of a car into a river I decided to hire them.
The only place you can hire tubes is outside of the park. It is very obvious on the corner as you turn towards Kelly Park and it cost me $7 per tube for the day. I’m glad I opted for these tubes as they are good quality and not going to puncture.
To get them into the park I was told to pile them up on the roof of the car, which, having no other option, I did.
It cost $5 to park the car for the day (the price depends on the amount of people). It’s worth knowing that they only let a certain number of people in so if the park is full you won’t get in and if you leave for any reason and want to go back there is no return if its at capacity. This can be a good thing because it means it doesn’t get busy. If you are planning a visit, it is best to either arrive early or go on a weekday during the local school holidays.
We parked up and carried our tubes and towels to the most obvious place which turned out to be the center of the river run. This was a good place to leave everything as there is a pool to swim in and it’s in the middle.
We decided to tube down the river first so we set off up the path to find the start. The walk wasn’t far at all and we even saw a family of racoons on the way! When we had worked out how to get into our tubes, we were off.
The journey down the river was beautiful, relaxing, and one of the most amazing things we have done. The peace was only spoilt a little by my daughter freaking out every time she went near the edge. She saw a sign saying to leave Alligators and Snakes alone and is terrified of snakes. She needn’t have worried though as we didn’t see any, only a sea turtle and some dragonflies.
The tubing was amazing. The river was so clear. Being spring water, its a constant temperature of about 70 degrees so can feel cold when you get in on a hot day, however it was fine when we were in and really refreshing.
Floating along on a tube from the top of the run to the end took about half an hour. There was then a gentle walk back along the path to the start and half of us did it all over again while the rest of us played in the pool area in the middle, waving as we went past.
There are restrooms available in the Park. There is a store that sells food and there are also plenty of picnic benches and barbeque sites. Near to the store are swings to play on.
The park is rich in wildlife and other than the Racoons and Turtle that we saw you can also look out for other animals on the nature trails behind the river.
There are lifeguard seats at the beginning and end of the tubing run and also all along it. When we visited these were not manned, I presume they are in high season. There was a storm warning when we were there. A loud alarm went off and park rangers drove down to the pool to tell everyone to get out.
This was an amazing day out in a beautiful and relaxing place.
Taking an autistic child to Rock Springs, Kelly Park?
As this is an outdoor experience in nature it is peaceful.
We went on a weekday during the American school term, the park wasn’t at all crowded.
There are animals to spot.
The water feels cold on a hot day.
The river bed is rock and sand, shoes are advisable.
The river isn’t fast flowing so it is easy to stay with your child whilst tubing.
Although there is a risk of seeing alligators and snakes it is uncommon and if you do, avoiding them is the best way. We stayed near the middle of the river.
If a storm comes there is a very loud storm siren.
It is necessary to walk back as the river isn’t a loop. The walk is flat, along a path.
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