Introduction to Ocala, Florida
Ocala is located in Marion County. The city is well known for its hundreds of thoroughbred horse farms. Ocala and Marion County are known as the "horse capital of the world." The horse farms are situated in attractive rolling green pastures. The area also features numerous rivers and lakes. Ocala National Forest and the well known Silver Springs are nearby.
The city of Ocala was founded in 1846 close to Fort King. Ocala is derived from the Timucua word "Ocali" which translates to "Big Hammock." In 1881 the railroad arrived in the town and stimulated the economy. About two years later a vast majority of the downtown area was decimated by a fire. The destruction motivated the citizens to rebuild the city with brick, steel and granite. Ocala became known as "The Brick City." The town was a prominent citrus growing area, until the "Big Freeze" occurred in 1894-1895. During the 20th Century Ocala became increasingly popular as a tourist destination.
The city is served by the Ocala International Airport. Ocala Suntan offers bus transportation.
- Coca Cola Building
- Marion Hotel
- Union Train Station
- Mount Zion A.M.E. Church
- E.C. Smith House
- East Hall
- Ritz Historic Inn
- Numerous equestrian venues including the Ocala Equestrian Complex which hosts major competitions.
- Horse riding trails are located in the area.
- Silver Springs is a nature theme park located nearby and features one of the biggest artesian springs in the world.
- Fishing in the numerous lakes, rivers and streams.
- Ocala National Forest features the largest sand pines forest in the world. It also contains natural springs and numerous hiking trails.
- The Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area features the Lake George Trail.
- Alexander Springs Recreation Area.
- Juniper Springs offers swimming opportunities.
- Wild Waters Water Park.
- Hundreds of thoroughbred horse farms.
- Crystal River Archaeological State Park is a pre-Colombian Native American site situated near a large coastal marsh area.
- The Appleton Museum of Art features a variety of art work and is a regional landmark.
- Brick City Park & Discovery Science Center.
- Coehadjoe Park.
- Silver River State Park.
- The Circle Square Cultural Center features well known entertainers.
- Don Garlit's Museum of Drag Racing.
- The prominent Horse Shows in the Sun.
The city is home to Central Florida Community College and Webster College.