silver springs aerial of glass bottom boat

Silver Springs State Park

Florida’s Oldest Natural Attraction
Management: April 2017 – Present

The Property

Since the 1870’s, visitors have explored this natural destination near Ocala, Florida. The park’s namesake, a first magnitude spring, is one of the largest natural artesian springs in the world and in 1972 it was declared a National Natural Landmark. One of Florida’s original tourist attractions, the park encompasses the 5-mile Silver River and includes gardens, historic structures, primeval forest wilderness surrounded by sandhills and its most popular attraction, Glass Bottom Boat tours.

Cape Leisure manages a fleet of nine electric, 28-passenger Glass Bottom Boats, providing tours to many hundreds of guests daily, including live narration of the history, geology, conservation, and folklore of the area. In addition, the company maintains more than 200 rental canoes, kayaks, and standup paddleboards, and offers transportation services back to Silver Springs for paddlers adventuring downstream. Food and beverage, catering, pavilion rentals and retail round out Cape Leisure’s offerings.

Management Strategies

Challenge: Improve aging facilities, add new service offerings, and increase visitor participation.

Strategy: Operating under a concession agreement with the Florida Park Service, Cape Leisure is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Silver Springs, while also creating opportunities for the public to enjoy the beauty and history of the area. Since our arrival at Silver Springs, Cape Leisure has worked to fulfill this mission.

First, the company undertook upgrades to the Glass Bottom Boat fleet and the large, covered boat maintenance barn, replacing aging boat batteries, installing new electric motors and helms as well as rebuilding deteriorated maintenance docks. Additionally, we constructed a new paddling rental facility, replacing an existing tent structure, and introduced a livery service, allowing paddlers the option of downstream runs with included transportation back to the head spring.

More recently, Cape Leisure completed a major remodel of its two restaurants and supporting kitchens, as well as its main gift shop, all located within the park’s historic Town Center. Coupled with the comprehensive facility restoration completed by our Florida Parks partners, this renovation ensures the Town Center will long be enjoyed by future generations.

Through an integrated marketing campaign of paid traditional and digital advertising, social media, and group sales, together with the establishment of an online reservations system, Cape Leisure has increased attendance to the park 120 percent since our first year in 2017. 

Featured Services

  • Glass Bottom Boat Tours

  • Rental Operations: Paddling Adventures

    • Canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards
    • Transportation services

  • Food and Beverage

    • Springside Café: casual dining
    • Ice Cream Shop: soft serve and hand-dipped ice cream, candy, and snacks
    • Catering Services: full banquet menu, Paradise Ballroom (seating up to 300 guests), Twin Oaks Mansion (seating up to 150 guests) and outdoor pavilion spaces
    • Seasonal mobile food cart and food trailer offerings

  • Ticketing

    • State Park Admissions
    • Glass Bottom Boat Tickets

  • Finance and Accounting

  • Merchandise & Retail Operations

    • Gift Shop
    • Exit Retail Kiosk
    • Paddling Supplies Shop

  • Interpretive Services

    • Glass Bottom Boats
    • Paddling Tours
    • Field Trip Programs

  • Project Development

  • Maintenance and Repair

    • Facilities
    • Grounds
    • Glass Bottom Boat Fleet

  • Marketing and Event Management

Partnership Opportunities

Talk to us and see how a partnership with Cape Leisure can solve your hospitality management challenges.