February 8, 2017

Review: Everglades Airboat Ride at Gator Park

Introduction
When it comes to traveling, we are all about trying something at least once. You have probably heard of swamp tour but have you ever heard of the airboat tour? If not, here's our review on that tour in Florida.

The Airboat At Gator Park
Location 
There are many swamps in Florida, especially around the Everglades National Park. Both Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are close to the Everglades. When we were in Miami and ready to book an airboat tour, we almost ended up going to the swamp in Ft. Lauderdale. There are just so many airboat tours that you want to read up and make sure which part of the swamp that you want to tour at. In our case, we wanted to be as close as possible to the Everglades National Park, and therefore, we did not pick the tour that goes to the swamp in Ft. Lauderdale.

It is worth noting that these places are not the Everglades National Park itself, but the swamps are part of the park.

The Swamp
Pricing & Booking
The price of the tour with pick up and drop off transportation is around $40-$45 per adult online. Although it might be cheaper to book the tour online that is about $40, but you don't have to. There are many tour desks available throughout South Beach or Miami Beach. The price is the same as you were to book online. Also, it's not only one place that operates the airboat. There are a few places that operate the airboat such as Coopertown, Gator Park, Everglades Safari Park... so there's no need to be concerned about the tour being sold out. We paid $80 for the two of us to go to the Gator Park. What includes in the price are the airboat ride touring the swamp, educational wildlife show, and walking around the man-made park to look at the alligators in the cage.

If you can drive yourself to the place where the airboat operates, you will simply get the ticket online or at the place, which is much cheaper without the pick up and drop off transportation.

Airboat Ride Experience
Let me start out by saying that, the airboat ride is very much safe so there's no need to worry about falling into the water and get eaten by the alligators ;)

If you join a tour, you have the priority to board the boat first in the tour group's line, so that was nice. The ride starts out slow so make sure to keep an eye on what may appear under the water such as turtles, fish, and possibly baby alligators. You are provided with ear plugs due to how noisy the airboat is when it goes faster. Any belongings that can easily be blown away such as hat, sunglasses... need to be store properly. When the airboat reaches its potential to go super fast, hang on to your life! Just kidding. It's a very fun joy ride. The twists and turns through the Everglades swamp make the ride super fun!

Safe & Fun Airboat - Video Below

Alligators Encounter
If you join this type of tour, you of course want to see the alligators, correct? As with any wildlife tour, spotting the animal in the wild is never a guarantee. We were lucky though to spot a female alligator named Lily. The boat operator demonstrated to us how alligator responds to noise and we lured her next to our boat that you can see in the video below.

For what is worth, if you don't get to see any alligators in the swamp, at least remind yourself that the airboat ride's experience is something unique, different, yet fun.


The Alligator Lily
After Tour
Each place that operates the airboat may have different programs after the airboat ride. It depends on what is included in your tour ticket. If you did the Gator Park like we did, after the airboat ride, you will get a chance to go sit down and watch educational wildlife show.  This is not about wrestling with an alligator type of show, but rather they educate you about wildlife mainly reptiles and of course alligators. It's educational yet entertaining. You can hold a baby alligator for a photo opt, but it's not free. However, the money goes to taking care of those animals, so it's not a completely tourist trap! After the show,  you can walk around to see alligators in the cage or just grab something to eat, try alligator meat and shop for souvenirs.

Wildlife Show
Alligator Cage
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