Reptiles are scary but fascinating. Particularly Alligators! Ever since I saw the “Gator Boys” on TV I knew the Everglades would have to be on my Bucket List. In April 2019, we took a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale. This would be my chance to visit the Everglades.
We decided to stay three nights in Hollywood. Not to be confused with the world's movie capital, this Hollywood sits in Florida between Fort Lauderdale and Miami and offers some of the area's best hotels. We stayed in the Hollywood Beach Marriott (https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/fllof-hollywood-beach-marriott/) a hotel is perfectly situated on a great stretch of beach and right on the Hollywood Broadwalk.
Since my stroke in 2017, I prefer hotels which involve little walking. Here we could easily walk to restaurants and shops nearby. The pool area here is lovely if somewhat small but we found the vibe to be very relaxing. Service in the restaurant was a tad slow but the food was tasty. Aside from that, this hotel exceeded our expectations and we would stay here again for a beach getaway.
On our second day here (5 April 2019) we did the Florida Everglades Airboat Tour and Alligator Show from Fort Lauderdale which we booked with Viator. This promised to be an exciting airboat ride to experience the unique subtropical ecosystem of the Everglades. (See Everglades Holiday Park YouTube video below.) The Everglades is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the largest designated sub-tropical wilderness reserve on the North American continent.
The sheer size of the Everglades is quite astounding as is the myriad of wildlife inhabitants that call it home. One of the most famous inhabitants, of course, is the American Alligator and as such there are several tours in The Everglades dedicated to giving you an opportunity to spot one in its natural habitat! (Read more about Florida Everglades Airboat from Fort Lauderdale 2020 -https://www.viator.com/tours/Fort-Lauderdale/Florida-Everglades-Airboat-Tour-and-Alligator-Show-from-Fort-Lauderdale/d660-5865GATOR?mcid=56757 )
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING THE EVERGLADES IN FLORIDA
So after a hotel pickup in Fort Lauderdale, we travelled to Everglades Holiday Park in West Broward County for this airboat tour. On this guided excursion through the Everglades, we skimmed along the grassy water while listening to interesting facts and learning about the area’s subtropical ecosystem from the experienced captain. .
We kept our eyes peeled for the variety of wildlife, like alligators, fish, turtles and wading birds in their natural habitat, an exciting and unspoiled wilderness. We saw several alligators. Filled with incredible wildlife as well as beautiful vegetation, airboat tours at Everglades Holiday Park are extraordinary – there’s nothing like it on earth.
South Florida is full of airboats and airboat tours; however, the best excursions are defined by comfort and performance. With the only covered airboats in the area, Everglades Holiday Park provides guests with the option of exploring the sunny terrain under a closed canopy to stay protected from the weather. Comfort is key so the boats are covered to ensure comfort from the heat.
The knowledgeable tour guide piloted our vessel, helping us to learn all about South Florida’s diverse ecosystem first-hand from an expert. Our airboat captain pointed out unique flora, fauna, and all kinds of amazing sights throughout the entire tour. We explored the breath-taking sawgrass wetland and journeyed deep into the remote sections of the ‘Glades, where many of the area’s most fascinating animals live and play!
Who would enjoy an Everglades airboat ride? For nature enthusiasts, taking in the fresh air and scenery of the mangrove forest is simply awe-inspiring. The sights and sounds of the Everglades wildlife are absolutely stunning. If you’re more of a thrill-seeker, the adrenaline-charged experience on an airboat and getting up close and personal to live alligators in the wild is indescribable. Locking eyes with a ravenous reptile and wandering through the wetlands swarmed with wildlife is a thrilling experience.
After the airboat ride, I got to hold a tiny alligator. We then checked out the alligator show, with gator wrestling and plenty of facts and figures about alligators. The show was presented by Paul Bedard from the hit reality TV show “The Gator Boys”. Whether they’re handling alligators or educating crowds of curious onlookers on the importance of protecting this amazing creature, they’re entertaining and fun. If you plan on visiting the Sunshine State soon and you’ve been unable to find the Gator Boys show on Animal Planet, don’t worry! Here’s how you can meet the Gator Boys in person at Everglades Holiday Park.
Everglades Holiday Park is the only place where you can see the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue perform a live show. The action takes place in the world famous “Gator Pit”, home to many personable alligators the crew rescued from residential neighbourhoods in South Florida. Of course, the presentation is exciting, family friendly, and educational too! With daring tricks, stunts and more, the Gator Boys entertain the crowd the best way they know how – with the help of a few good friends, Everglades’ alligators.
The tour concluded with a relaxing return trip to Fort Lauderdale. We very much enjoyed our visit to Everglades Holiday Park and had plenty of time to witness wildlife in their own environment, not in cages or behind bars like at the zoo but roaming free as they've done for over 8 million years!
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog post
Number 1 - Adventure - Air Boat Across an Alligator Infested Swamp - Everglades, Florida
Number 57 - Travel - 7 Continents - North America
Number 58 - Travel - 80 Countries - USA
Number 59 - Travel - 80 Hotels
Number 76 - Experiences - 80 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Have you been to the Everglades? Or to Florida? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!