Ocala/Marion County Celebrates Veterans
Whether you are a local, from another part of Florida or visiting from another state, we welcome all our veterans to enjoy the area’s unique attractions, outdoor playground and rich arts and culture. From free entry or military discounts, to live performances and memorial parks, our community is proud thank our veterans in any way we can. As Veterans Day is coming up, we wanted to share some the fun veteran friendly things to do in Ocala/Marion County:
The Ocala-Marion County Veterans Memorial Park is a lasting memorial to all United States Veterans nestled in a quiet oasis in Ocala. With more than 5,000 bricks, 200 benches and 100 plaques, visitors can appreciate the history of our veterans from the birth of our nation forward. The park office is staffed completely by volunteers, many of whom are veterans and have first-hand recollections of the wars that were fought.
The park is entirely free and open to the public and features the Medal of Honor monument, the presidential monument (honoring all presidents who served in our military), war memorabilia and picnic areas.
Rainbow Springs State Park, Silver Springs State Park and Cross Florida Greenway Trails all offer military discounts all year. Learn how to get a discounted or free Florida State Park Annual Pass here.
Ocala National Forest—In honor of Veterans Day, the US Forest service is waving recreation fees at the Ocala National Forest for Nov. 11, 2021. Located just east of Silver Springs State Park, the Ocala National Forest is the southernmost national forest in the continental US. Veterans can enjoy the Forest in endless ways including camping, fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, canoeing, kayaking and mountain biking.
ART AND MUSEUMS
Marion County Veterans Exhibit and Education Center, located at 2528 E. Silver Springs Blvd next to the Memorial Park, opened in 2019 and features military service related artifacts and memorabilia. The Center showcases historic uniforms from each branch of the military. Visitors will be captivated by World War I letters and the service history of national heroes. Check out displays of service medals and WWII survival kits, along with newspaper clippings from WWII and aircraft fabric. Admission is free!
Appleton Museum of Art offers free entrance for veterans all year and is one of the area’s premier museums full of international wonders. The museum offers veterans the chance to explore international art and artifacts and a permanent collection of approximately 16,000 objects. The Appleton also hosts series of traveling exhibits showcased throughout the year.
For those who love Ocala/Marion County history, one of the current exhibits is Mid-Century Tourism On The Silver River: Photographs By Bruce Mozert. This exhibit showcases photos from a pioneer of underwater photography, Mozert, including photos of Silver Springs and Paradise Park in the mid-1900s. This exhibit runs until January 2020.
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing offers discounted admission for military and veterans. With nearly 300 cars, veterans can spend hours in the chronicles of drag racing history. Explore the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and see racing cars, antique cars, memorabilia and more.
For information about veterans services in the area, click here.