Sunday, February 5, 2012

Airboat ride at Gator Park

I do not know why, but when we were dreaming and planning our trip, we just felt that one of things we we really wanted to do was to take an airboat ride in the Florida Everglades! This is one must-do that did not disappoint!

We chose a place called Gator Park because they have a small campground attached to their operations, but there many different airboat ride outfits to choose from in the area. Winter is their busy season, so all of them are open for business.

We got on the first boat of the morning and our captain was quite a character. He had a gravelly voice due to sixteen years of talking over an airboat. A few of the wild birds in the area come and sit on his shoulder as he speaks. At one time he had two boat grackles and a purple gallinule perched on his personhood.

He also knows all the local alligators who live in the area and calls them by name. Believe it or not they come out to see him. "Lily, come out and see me," he hollers in his rough voice and out swims Lily in a couple of minutes with some of her young ones in tow. He must be one of those Swamp People on the television!

As our guide he was very knowledgeable about the Everglades and the wildlife and the ecosystem that makes up the entire area. He also knows his machine and how to open up that airboat to full throttle and do a little swerving and swinging in the boat. What a blast we had.

Then to top it off we got to see a wildlife show. Patsy got an up close and personal view of an emperor scorpion and the rest of us got to hold a four year old gator named Larry!! This is one of the most memorable things we have done on our trip and we highly recommend it!

Gator Park also has an RV Park which we stayed at for two days.

Staff - 7 - Staff was helpful but busy and distracted.

Nearby attractions - 9 - Close to Everglades National Park, Miami and all other regional attractions.

Natural surroundings - 8 - Lots of varied palm trees and a everglades surround park.

Value - 7 - We paid $34 a night for a back-in site with full hook-ups except sewer.

Bathrooms - 3 - only bathrooms were inside store which closes at 5 pm. No showers.

Roominess - 6 - Kinda tight space

Facility fun - 6 - So after the ride and show there is not a whole lot to do. You can walk the grounds and see more gators swimming in the nearby lake (fenced in) and some other wildlife and farm animals. 

Cleanliness - 7 - Most of the sites are being occupied by Gator Park employees. Some have nice rigs and others have run down spots.

Facility usefulness - 5 - Store with a few food items. Restaurant at park as well.

Overall - 6 - Cheap for area, but not a place to stay more than a night or two.


  1. Very fun! We love the everglades and especially airboat rides! Though once I honestly thought our guide was an ax murderer and I was dead!!! :)

  2. LOL! We knew our guide was just a gruff teddy bear. We do love the Everglades!

  3. Hi
    Did the captain of your airboat speak Australian and did he miss a part of his calf?
    I think we took a tour with him in 2001 and I would like to visit them again.
    We are going to Florida in September , this time with our doughter.
    Please can you leave me a answer to my E-mail?
    Thanks in adwance

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