Florida Guide > Other Activities
Air Boat Rides
Lake Tohopekaliga (Boggy Creek)
An airboat ride in Orlando is not like an airboat ride in the Everglades but it is on the doorstep and not a 3 hour drive away!
There are at least two companies that provide these rides that last anything from half an hour to half a day. It is well worth phoning to check prices as these can vary from company to company and also use the discount tickets that are in the coupon books or on the map that you can pick up when you arrive at the airport. (Incidentally these are very helpful maps and well worth looking for while your driver collects the car) It is also a good idea to book to avoid long waits, particularly if you are a large family.
These air boats can travel quite quickly and most of the drivers like to provide some excitement so if you want to wear a sun hat make sure you can fasten it on tightly!
The tours don’t guarantee that you will see alligators in the wild – they say if you want to be sure of seeing ‘gators go to Gatorland – but the drivers do know the most likely places for spotting them. We saw them in two places and we also saw some baby ‘gators.
The ride is quite fast and furious between locations and the boats are very very noisy, particularly if the exhaust detaches itself and there is no silencer! You are provided with ear protectors and they are really needed. You have to take them off at each observation point so that you can hear the drivers clearly.
The drivers are usually very knowledgeable and will point out the birds that can be seen. We saw and eagle and an eagles nest on our last trip.
If you are taking the grandparents with you and they have mobility problems do ask for a step to be provided to make it easier for them to get on or off the air boat.
At the end of the ride there is time for photographs of everyone in their windblown state to commemorate the ride.
There is nothing like the range of wild-life that you will see if you go to the Everglades but it is still an enjoyable trip. It may well wet your appetite for seeing the Everglades themselves but to make the most of that you would need to spend a few days. If you do this try to go on a night trip as you are then much more likely to see the full range of animals and it is very exciting speeding through the long grasses.
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Page added on: 7 July 2006
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