The great outdoors in Florida can be a little scary, between the alligators, super sized snakes, and the humongous mosquitoes. So, when you’re ready to explore the Everglades, its better to turn to an expert like the folks at Wild Florida. I recently put my life in their hands as I toured the 4,200 acres of untouched nature preserve on an airboat. (seriously, did you know airboats don’t have brakes!?!?)
Before we hopped on the airboat, we had a chance to check out the shop and all the interesting keepsakes available to purchase.
Wild Florida is Orlando’s only Everglades Airboat Tour and Wildlife Park Experience, located only 45 minutes from Disney and 30 minutes from the Orlando Airport. Their swamp is 100% pure Florida wilderness, inhabited by Florida hippos (cows), alligators, soft shell turtles, blue herons, bald eagles, wood ducks and more. Their tours include a knowledgeable captain that provides you with detailed information about the wildlife you encounter. Not only are these captains familiar with the Everglades, but they’re passionate about their job!
During the ride, I had my trusty Samsung Galaxy Camera on hand to capture this great shot of a beautiful purple gallinule bird
and these baby american alligators we found in the weeds.
Fun facts about airboats:
- Airboats can be used on almost any type of terrain including: swamps, wetlands, dry land, ice, mud, and tall vegetation.
- Racing airboats can go in excess of 130 miles per hour
- The engine and propeller are enclosed in a protective metal cage to prevents objects like tree limbs, clothing, passengers, or wildlife, from coming in contact with the whirling propeller
- Airboats don’t have brakes and will not travel in reverse
- The first airboat was built in 1905 and named the Ugly Duckling
- Airboats are frequently used by the military, Coast Guard and law enforcement for search and rescue missions on ice and in flooded areas like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina
Tour choices include: ½ Hour Orlando Airboat Tour,1 Hour Orlando Airboat Tour, 1 Hour Private Airboat Tour, or a 1 Hour Night Tour. You definitely want to remember to bring: your camera, bottle of water bottle to stay hydrated, sunscreen (an essential when outdoors in FL), a hat, a poncho (rain showers often pop up unexpectedly), and sunglasses. I also HIGHLY recommend bringing a jacket and blanket – especially for the kids.
While Kas (Southern Bellas Ways to Save) and I were taking a time out for a friendly photo, we had forgotten that it can be easily get about 15 degrees cooler and very windy on the airboats.
So bring those jackets and blankets folks and remember the best time to see active alligators on the tour is to come when it’s warm out (but not in the middle of a summer day – thats too hot) or during a nice summer evening.
For an added treat, after your airboat ride you can get an up close encounter with a resident alligator. This guy’s name was Hercules and just about as sweet as they come!
Aside from the airboat rides, Wild Florida also has a great Wildlife Park! Having always been a fan of animals, I thought I had already seen/heard them all. Not true. Have you ever heard of a Zorse, Zonkey or Zedonk? Well you can learn the difference and see them live here!
They also had an adorable rare baby white water buffalo,
whose mother was super friendly and liked a little head nuzzling.
I was also introduced to this Miniature Zebu – the smallest breed of cattle in the world,
and had a chance to chat with a curious Emu.
While we all got a kick out of the fun signs posted around the Alligator enclosure,
in all seriousness – do keep an eye on your kids. This guy means business.
- 1/2 hour: Adults-$25, Kids-$22
- 1 hour: Adults-$45, Kids-$35
- Night Tour: $60 per person
- Wildlife Park Admission: Adults-$9.35, Kids-$7.48
Hours: Daily 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Location: 3301 Lake Cypress Rd., Kenansville, FL 34739
Experience Kissimmee paid for my travel expenses to experience Wild Florida in person. No compensation was received and all opinions expressed are original.