On a recent trip to Kissimmee, Florida, I had the opportunity to step a bit out of my comfort zone with activities like kayaking with alligators, riding in a hot air balloon and going on an airboat ride in the Florida Everglades while searching for gators. Now let me start by saying I’ve seen YouTube videos of wild airboat rides and I can see why some of them are titled “wild”. Zooming across the water, splashing waves into the boat…some are certainly more wild than others. With Wild Florida, I knew I was in good hands! Yes, you zoom across the water, float through swamps and you may even see a gator or two but the highly trained staff takes good care of their passengers so this is an adventure you could go on with your kids too.
Wild Florida Airboat Ride:
So there we were – getting ready to take off on our adventure! The airboats are quite loud so the crew provides ear protection for all the passengers. There are life jackets on board as well. The airboat ride isn’t just zooming across the water at high speeds (although that is a big part of the fun!) but you go on scenic routes through the Florida Everglades, travel through swaps and you have time to stop and take pictures of the wildlife. It was quite hot when we went so I think most of the alligators were cooling off underwater but we did see two on the trip. Your captain will be looking for alligators as well so keep that camera ready!
I didn’t expect this but we saw loads of cows! It was quite hot the day we went so the cattle was looking to cool off in the water too. They don’t seem bothered at all by the fact that there are alligators in the water (our captain said cows are likely too big for the alligators) and they weren’t scared of the airboats driving around them.
Out in the water, I wasn’t expecting to see a traffic jam…but there it was! A cattle traffic jam!
The area is beautiful and quite relaxing. Lots of pretty photo opportunities out there!
Wild Florida Wildlife Park:
If you don’t spot an alligator on your airboat ride, you still have the opportunity to see some alligators up close in the Wild Florida Wildlife Park. This really is something that the entire family can enjoy! They have more than 200 animals including lemurs, sloths, zedonks…I’ll explain that one shortly…and many more. Admission to the Wildlife Park is free with an airboat tour or you can buy admission to the wildlife park without the airboat adventure.
I had to laugh when I saw this sign because I thought “you don’t have to ask me twice”! Ha!
Some of the amazing experiences they offer includes:
- Gator Handling Show – yes, you can hold a gator!
- Petting Zoo – let your kids visit baby animals!
- Playground – there were peacocks playing in the playground when we were there!
- #Slothie – taking a selfie with a sloth!
- Animal Keeper – become an animal keeper for the day!
Say CHEESE! We had an opportunity to see gators up close and the animal keeper fed them while we were there. They’ll never turn down a chance for a snack!
Now as for this zedonk I mentioned…have you ever heard of zorses, zonkeys and zedonks? Yes, they are real!
We had an opportunity to see some on our trip and they were so cute! They look like they are wearing tall striped socks. Ha!
Although we didn’t have time to try it during this visit, Wild Florida also offers Ranch Buggy Tours. On this tour, you get to visit a cattle ranch and hear all about its history.
After a busy day of adventure, stop by Chomp House Grill for a bite to eat. Ever tried gator? You can at the Chomp House Grill! For the less adventurous, they have delicious barbeque food, ice cream, salads and more.
Whether you’re looking for a wild adventure or a relaxing afternoon of family fun, Wild Florida has something for you!
*Disclosure: This experience was provided to me by Experience Kissimmee and Wild Florida; however, all opinions expressed here are my own.