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Adams County, Colorado
September 20, 2011
August 20, 2008
by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
May 4, 2004
Our flight back home after the cruise was not until 2:00 in the afternoon. We had two minor problems: (1) We knew we would have to leave the ship about 9:00 and really didn’t want to sit at the airport all that time and (2) transportation to the airport. OH, WHAT TO DO?
We checked out the available tours in Ft. Lauderdale and found an airboat ride through the Everglades that would deliver us and our luggage to the airport after the tour. The bus was waiting for us as we disembarked the Golden Princess at 8:30 on Saturday. Our luggage was loaded in the cargo compartment of the bus and off we went.
The Everglades Holiday Park was ready for us as we arrived. Our group was loaded onto an airboat and off we went. Speeding through a river of grass at 50 miles per hour was thrilling. Suddenly, the driver comes to a stop- he has seen something. Turning the boat slowing in a protected cove, we saw it also- a 12-foot alligator just below the water line, eyes poking up out of the water,
Obviously, the boat operator was fascinated with the alligator and knew quite a lot about them. We received a mini-seminar on the life and habits of alligators- what they eat, where they sleep and how the reproduce. He had some bread with him and was feeding it to this creature, giving us opportunities to get great pictures. We stayed there for over 25 minutes, (It was supposed to be only a 30 minute tour).
We were on the move again, winding, weaving, and sliding across the water, grasses and vegetation. We stopped briefly to see another huge alligator sleeping on the bank. We returned an hour later to the dock where we began. There waiting for us was our tour guide from the bus. I think she was a little concerned about our extra long boat ride. Everyone else had already returned, even though they had left after us. No time for our group to visit the gift shop, we that did not concern us too much. A quick stop at the restrooms and then we were on our way to the airport.
Tours are offered seven days a week year-round.
The Everglades, at the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula, is the only subtropical preserve in North America. Sawgrass prairies, mangroves and cypress swamps, and piney woods support rich bird life such as spoonbills, great blue herons, and egrets along with a large variety of water life including alligators.
It was first recognized as a National Park in 1947, a World Heritage site in 1979 and in 1987 was named Wetlands of International Importance. Some say, "If you haven’t seen the Everglades, you haven’t seen Florida."
From journal OUR GOLDEN PRINCESS EXPERIENCE
by southern girl
March 20, 2004
Let me give you a word of warning. I'm a true southern girl so I'm no stranger to stifling humidity and sweltering heat. This was the hottest I've have ever been in my life. This beats anything I've ever seen. Wear a hat, take a water bottle and one of those battery operated fan/spray bottle combos. I would highly recommend this to nature lovers who can stand the heat. This is the true Florida without any tourist trappings.
From journal Pompano Paradise
by Tina C
August 20, 2003
Then we were back on the air boat where our guide took us to a spot in the everglades where he knew we would find one of his favorite alligators that he's been playing with for the last 5 years. (Alligators are very territorial). He hopped down to the side of the boat and started tapping her on the head to get her to open her mouth so we could get some really good photos of those alligator teeth! (I'll post some as soon as I get them from my cousin!) Before he was done playing with this alligator named Cataract (she had one in her eye), we were surrounded by several other alligators!
Farther along the ride, we slowed down again, and got a good look at some beautiful birds in the everglades. The Purple Gallinule is so gorgeous and cute running on top of the water lillies! We also saw a Great Blue Heron eating a huge fish! The tour guide told us how jealous he was because they seem to always catch the big fish so easily and he sits out there for hours sometimes . . . :)
I've lived in Florida all my life and went to the Everglades when I was a child. But I never went on an airboat ride. (It's something that the tourist do!). But this one was enjoyable and I'd recommend it. At least for the Vacation Village at Weston discount price anyway!
From journal Family Get Together in South Florida
Boynton Beach, Florida
August 5, 2003
I never knew that they regenerate teeth that are knocked out. I never knew the inside of their mouths and their tongues are a creamy shade of off-white. I never knew that pulling them by the tail will render them unaggressive.
After buying your ticket at the office, you make your way down to the dock to wait for the boat to leave. When the tour guide comes to take your ticket, you find a seat, and you're off!
It was very exciting to swoosh over the Everglade vegetation that populates the water. It's high speed so that the wind makes you feel very cooled.
It looked like we were being taken down "roads", where the vegetation is thinner than in other areas. This is because there are channels that have been cut by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Our first stop was at a tiny island where they sell cheesy souvenirs and deep fried alligator meat (tastes like chicken!) We opted to skip. Just when I thought this was going to be completely tacky, we were hustled to a fenced-in pen, where a guy with very few teeth and lots of tattoos showed us several alligators. He showed us various biological aspects of the critter. Then, he wrestled it and even put his head in its open mouth. Talk about a leap of faith!
We got back on the boat and were taken to several sites where we were shown alligators in the wild. Everyone's heart skipped a beat or two when one approached the boat and actually jumped up on the side, mouth agape! And naturally, it was our side of the boat . . .
We were shown several of the indigenous birds, and could see some nests with eggs. There are species that are only found in the Everglades, and we saw a few of them. They were colorful examples, and a delight to see.
We were then whisked back to the dock. The entire tour lasted about 1-1/2 hours. Our guide was very informative, and knew right where to look to find wildlife examples to show us. He was knowledgeable about several aspects of each species. He captures injured alligators to bring them to medical help. He returns to the wild ones that are caught in residential areas. The afternoon was fascinating, as well as fun.
Boats are available for rent, and you can hire a fishing guide and/or tackle at the office. There is a bait shop onsite.
If you are staying at the Vacation Village at Bonaventure or Weston, they give half-price coupons upon check-in. It only cost $8 per person, the price of taking in a movie. Unlike movies, however, this is a sure bet to please everyone in your party, young or old.
June 23, 2003
After the first half of the ride they will drop you at a small island where there is drinks and alligator fried meat for purchase (at very very high prices) and well as a cheesy display of what Indian life was like.
Then there is alligator wrestling, which really isn't alliagtor wrestling at all. It's just a term. The young man who "wrestled" the alligators was very professional and informative about alligators and their habitat.
After the "show" you reboard the airboat for a wild ride an informative tour of the evergaldes. We saw several alligators, a lot of different birds, and were pointed out several differnt types of flowers and trees.
We had a good time but we also thought it was overpriced. On top of the admisson price everyone will ask for tips.
Look on the Go Florida web site for coupons ($2 off each person - covers the tax portion ). Was about $16.50 per adult and $10-$12 per child.
THey have a nice covered picnic area.
From journal Family Vacation in Pompano Beach
Medford, New York
April 25, 2003
Airboat tours run every 20 minutes. The Tour costs $10/pp. With the Discount White Card that the resort gives you when you arrive, the cost is $7.50/pp. It is worth $7.50, but not more. First the airboat takes you to a separate island. There's a guy there (missing two fingers!) straddling a real alligator, opening its mouth and other things. Then he does the same thing to the other alligator. The unnatural things he was making the alligators do, I actually felt bad for the alligators! That is about 10 minutes long.
Then we get back in the airboat and one alligator swam right over to our boat, which was a perfect photo opportunity. Then the pilot took us to a nest of baby alligators. That was nice. There is a gift shop (ho hum). We spent about two hours there. It was something to do, it wasn't expensive, and it wasn't too far away.
From journal Vacation Village at Weston
April 24, 2003
From journal Bonaventure Getaway
St Simons Island, Georgia
February 14, 2003
From journal Ft Lauderdale Fantasy