The beautiful Everglades and the air boat
After leaving the Keys, we were headed up to Sanibel for the last few days of our trip. I had planned a wonderful day in the Everglades for us which got thrown completely off course.
We left the Keys late and stopped at Divers Direct (BIG mistake best store on earth). After spending entirely too much money we were headed back out again.
We got to our destination in the Everglades after they were closed. A little bummed but we carried on. One of the kids spotted the Florida Gator Park by accident and decided to stop and look around. They had an air boat tour leaving in exactly 3 minutes so we had to hustle.
If you’ve never been on an air boat in the Everglades, you have to book a trip right now! This was probably the most fun thing we did on vacation. They handed us earplugs and ushered to the boat. We grabbed our seats and were off.
The boat started out slow, looking for alligators. There were lots! Big ones, little ones, ones that could hobble up the boat in 2 bites; they all just stared at us. We saw hundreds of birds and other animals unique to the Everglades. The kids were having a blast.
After making our way through some of the swamps, the trees opened up into a huge lake(?). Our fantastic tour guide told us to put in our earplugs and hold on. He turned the gigantic fan on full blast and we went zipping across the water. I so wish I had pictures of this, but we were holding on for dear life. It was SO FUN! Seeing the kids giggling made my heart melt.
We did this for about 15-20 minutes before we headed back to the shop. On our way we slowed and looked for more alligators. Again we saw a ton and were told it was a great day for them. We saw a lot of babies with their tiny eyes peeking out.
The after party
Back at the shop, we were sent to the small outdoor amphitheater for a show. We grabbed seats just in time. A handler came out and showed us some animals. He had parrots, scorpions, iguanas, and frogs.
Then came the alligators. He had about 6 of them in the pen with him, free range! He talked about safety in the wild, what to do if we encountered one and how to get away. Then he did some tricks with them. Well, 1 trick. He fed them pieces of meat and showed off their teeth. Then he showed us exactly where not to put our hands. The alligators were fine with him unless he touched the tip of their noses; then they wanted to eat him!
Overall, it was a cool show and he was available afterward for questions. They also had a baby available for pictures.
What worried me is that none of the kids had any sort of hesitation on holding the alligators!
We spent some time exploring their grounds and looking around in their gift shop. Everyone really had a great time especially considering it was an impromptu stop!
They all jumped to hold an alligator, but she was the only one brave enough to hold the huge bug we found on the car!
If you’re in the Everglades and need a family friendly, FUN activity, I can not recommend the Florida Gator Park enough!