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July 11, 2015

Going Wild at Wild Florida

Airboats are nothing new in Florida. In fact, with 1.5 million acres making up the Everglades, airboating is about as common to a Floridian as skiing is to a Coloradoan! However, airboating at Wild Florida is an unequaled experience... and this is only a small part of the complete Wild Florida adventure!


Options, options, options!! Wild Florida offers a variety of airboat experiences! Choose from 30 minutes, one hour, private tour, or night tours - starting at just $26.50 per person. You'll power through 100,000 acres of the marshlands and rivers that make up the Central Florida Everglades while observing the wildlife and uniquely Florida flora that inhabit this unadulterated natural wetland environment. It's a world away from the Orlando you know, yet just a short jaunt from the center of our tourist corridor. Your airboat captains are Coast Guard certified, and they have an admirable grasp on Florida's ecosystem and history, with plenty of valuable information to share on your journey. It's an adventure that no roller coaster ride can possibly measure up to, and it's a respectable glance into what pre-Disney Orlando really was. There's no animatronics, costumed characters, or parades - just a peaceful trip through natural beauty and unpredictable encounters. 


On this day, we were treated to one full hour of purely incredible scenery and picturesque views that would rival the most brilliant natural art. Mother Nature was shining down on us as we encountered a captivating mix of dramatic hues and wildlife, including alligators, and Florida's finest feathered inhabitants. We even caught a bird enjoying a slithering snack as we cut through the sawgrass.
If you think that Orlando is all about the theme parks, you're just doing it wrong. Sparkling sapphire waters are one of our greatest treasures, and Wild Florida presents this gem in a way that no one else can. There is no finer freedom than skimming the swamps and breathing in magnificence like this!
So, you think that Wild Florida is a one-trick pony? After that airboat cruise, you still have hours left to fill in your day and your Wild Florida adventure is over, right? WRONG! Every airboat ride includes admission to the Wild Florida Wildlife and Nature Park... the adventure continues! 
Quick tip... Before you even enter the park, keep an eye out for feathery friends, as they seem to have the run of the area!
 You'll also find some lively macaws and cockatoos just before the park entrance. One of these enclosures even houses a breathtaking white peacock!
But there is no shortage of birds throughout the sprawling preserve. If you're the type to enjoy creatures of flight, this will be such a treat! Macaws are always a favorite...
I hate to admit this, but I actually have a bit of a bird phobia. This doesn't mesh well with the fact that my daughter is an obsessed bird lover, with a growing collection of birds of her own. Naturally, she just had to check out the aviary at Wild Florida. Dutiful mom led the way, and instantly, I made a friend. Although I maintained composure... I was terrified. We spent about 20 minutes in the aviary, and even when flapping chaos ensued all around us, this lovely little beauty stayed contentedly on my shoulder. By the time we moved on, I was quite enamored of my new pal. 
 After the aviary adventure, an ostentation of peacocks paved the path as we decided to explore the Hawk Swamp Swamp Walk. This is positively one of the most breathtaking, "pure Florida" zones that I have encountered in my 25 years of being a Floridian. Winding wooden decks weave throughout an abundant canopy of colossal Cypress trees, with only the sounds and sights of pure nature surrounding you.
Keep your eyes peeled - you can learn a little about our natural wonders along the way.
Would you believe - you've still only started your journey through the nature park? Observe the signs alerting you to show times for unique opportunities to discover some of the intriguing characteristics of Wild Florida's wild inhabitants - including hedgehogs, blue-tongued skinks, possums, snakes, and the original Florida mascot... the alligator!
You'll even have the opportunity to hold these wily critters, and pose for fun photos to commemorate your visit!
If you haven't had your fill of animal encounters by this point, you can enjoy more up close and personal fun at the petting zoo, where a variety of friendly critters are waiting to greet you. 
The rest of this 13 acre park is just teeming with an unparalleled collection of wondrous creatures. Make sure you visit every nook and cranny to maximize your encounters! You'll see an inspiring menagerie of animals that will certainly put your previous critter experiences to shame! Let's explore the rest of the Wild Florida Nature Park...
A small herd of docile deer meander beneath cypress shade...
You certainly don't want to miss the watusi!
Florida's vibrant wild boar are active and vocal...
...And who doesn't love an emu?
Personally, I just adore zebras...
... And they have some exceptionally intriguing neighbors!
But what about the smaller critters? Yep, they have those, too! Lemurs, tamarins, sloths, porcupines, snakes... the list just goes on! Any animal lover is bound to fall in love with the many species of lovable fuzzy, furry, cuddly things you'll meet during your Wild Florida adventure. I certainly found a favorite!
What's a Florida wildlife encounter without the cats? Wild Florida has beautiful servals and bobcats, too!
Then, there's always the famed Florida alligator! If you're timing is right, you can even catch the gator feeding show.
All of this, and we still didn't cover the entirety of the Wild Florida experience! Beyond these standard adventures, they also offer swamp buggy rides, personal animal encounters, and behind the scenes tours. Check out their site for more information, or to book any or all of these extraordinary experiences. We hope to return for even more Wild Florida discovery very soon. We also have to make sure we catch a meal at the Chomp House Grill during our next visit. The smells that wafted through the air were simply indescribable! Wild Florida hosts groups of all types, with indoor event space, and specialty, guided tour packages. I strongly recommend that you consider this option for your next event, as it will surely be one to remember!