Ocala is a city that is located in the central region of the US state of Florida. Florida is the most extreme southeastern state in the continental United States. It is bordered to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the south by the Caribbean Sea, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. It is the seat of government for Marion County. English is the official language of Ocala.
The city was first founded by Matthew Hall in 1846 at Fort Smith, which was a US Army fort used during the Seminole Wars. The name Ocala comes from an indigenous word that means "Big Hammock". The city really began to grow when the railroad was built to the city in 1881. Soon banks, stores, hospitals, and schools were built and the city began to grow. The main source of income for the city was the citrus crop until 1894 when most of the citrus crop froze.
The city adapted its economy to focus more on tourism. Southern Florida had become a very popular place to visit in the mid 20th century and Ocala was no exception. The city constructed theme parks such as Wild Waters and Silver Springs Nature Theme Park. The city has continued to grow thanks in part to the construction of DisneyWorld approximately seventy miles to the south of downtown Ocala.
Ocala has a humid subtropical climate, which means hot summers and mild winters. Summer temperatures can reach into the 90's Fahrenheit from time to time but winter temperatures rarely dip below 40. Rainfall occurs year round, but it occurs most heavily during the summer months of June through August. Thunderstorms can be severe from time to time. The city is vulnerable to hurricanes because of its location in southern Florida.
The area is serviced by Ocala International Airport which offers connecting flights to larger nearby airports such as Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, and Dallas.
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