We have always wanted to go “ripping around” Everglades National Park on an airboat tour. With three young kids in tow, we knew that a longer tour option wouldn’t work, so we were thrilled when there was a ‘family option’ for a 45-minute ride at Gator Park. We were still able to take part in a narrated tour, find some gators, and the kids were still happy at the end of it. They provide earplugs for you and life jackets and headphones for the children as well; it was very safe.
The tour took us on a sometimes thrilling, sometimes calm and scenic ride through the beautiful mangrove tunnels. One moment you would be zipping around and the next the guide would slow down when he noticed us approaching wildlife; giving us all a great look. There were plenty of gators to find along the way and with a little zoom lens, by the photos below, you may even think we were almost in the water with them! Gators have always fascinated me because of their prehistoric features and getting to see them in their natural habitat was fascinating. In addition to seeing several alligators, we saw several types of birds, turtles, and other wildlife.
The wildlife show afterward was entertaining and educational. We were shown how to distinguish between alligators and crocodiles, how fast the alligators can snap their powerful jaws, and what they like to feast on.
It was the first time that we had seen a baby alligator up close and we were able to learn a lot about them. Previously we had been cage diving with crocodiles in South Africa and that is the closest we have ever been. The kids loved being able to get close to a baby gator afterward, feel its skin, and admire it. Photos are an additional $3 per person.
Make sure you dress a little warmer than you would expect. It was January and for us folks from Vancouver, it was like our summer weather. However, with the fast-moving airboat, we were happy that we still had sweaters with us.
Cost: Adults: $24.99, Kids 1-5 ride free, Kids 6-11 are $14.99. Further discount for adults when you buy tickets online.
Take a look at our experience with some Gators!