Heading to Florida?? Stay out of the parks and go see something really interesting!
Yes, for real! While us Canadians love to flock to Florida to stand in endless lines at theme parks, there is indeed life outside of the parks! Lots of life actually, wildlife!
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides, has two locations in Kissimmee, the heart of Orlando, right where the headwaters to the Florida Everglades start.
Just taking a ride on an airboat was exciting enough, but adding in real live gators in their natural habit was seriously awesome! The airboats are quite loud, but we were given protective gear for our ears. This was fabulous as I have a boy with extreme sound sensitivity, he did very well on the ride! The kids wore life jackets, though drowning wasn’t even on the top of my list of worries of going in gator filled waters! lol There was no need to worry though, Boggy Creek Airboats are all insured and regularly inspected & certified by the U.S. Coast Guard and all captains are U.S. Coast Guard master captains.
So, did we see any Gators??
We sure did! It was really amazing to see these beauties swimming beside the boat, our guide was a pro at spotting them even while zipping along at a good speed! He was able to find a number of water snakes too, that I found hard to see even when he was pointing at them! lol We were able to learn so much about Florida wildlife from our guide, he really took the time to stop and explain everything we saw and answered all of our questions.
See that big mama in the top picture? We spotted her in a nesting sight. We were told that she was preparing the site to lay her eggs, and that a male had just left the area after being there for about 2 weeks. That’s a good sign that she has mated and will go on to lay as many as 30-40 eggs! Mom will stay close to her young for 2-3 years to protect them, but sadly the survival rate is only about 10%.
The biggest culprit??
This first guy right here, is a Great Blue Heron and one of the baby alligators biggest predators! They will eat the eggs and newborns until the alligators are big enough to eat them, and then the tables turn! Pay back!
We had an amazing and educational 45 minute tour seeing all the wildlife, even cows by the way! Yup, cows were waist deep in the water eating the grass! that was a sight I did not expect to see! (Surprisingly enough Florida has a large cattle production and is home to four of the United States 10 largest cow-calf operations.) Back on shore, we were able to get up close and personal with a baby alligator!
My babies were brave as they held and fed the baby gators! I was surprised to find that alligators are actually quite smooth and soft. It was an amazing experience we won’t soon forget!
So, go to the theme parks, take in the beach, but be sure to visit Boggy Creek Airboat Rides for a once in a lifetime adventure! It’s a Florida must-see, must-do, bucket list type of experience!!
disclosure: We received a complimentary tour with Boggy Creek Airboat Rides, however, all opinions expressed are honest and my own.