Tag Archives: alligators

Everglades Animal Farm and Airboat Ride

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We arrived in Miami, Florida with 2 days to explore the area before was time to board our cruise ship. The reason for early arrival was because of the large price difference between flying out of Pittsburgh on Sunday versus flying out on Tuesday. We decided to make the most of the situation and use those 2 days to create an extended vacation. As we were looking for things to do in the Miami area we discovered the Miami Go two day pass, a discount attractions pass that allows visitors to see and experience an unlimited amount of attractions in Southern Florida for a set price. As we looked over the list of 20+ attractions offered, and compared the admission cost of those attractions to the cost of the two day pass, it was a no-brainer.

As we looked over the list of attractions we knew that one of our stops had to be an airboat ride through the Everglades. The Miami Go pass offered 3 different airboat ride companies to pick from. We chose to check out Everglades Alligator Farm and airboat ride. We liked that it combined both an airboat ride with a reptile farm that offered shows and hands on interaction with alligators and other reptiles. We knew that if we were going to be in Southern Florida for 2 days we had to take part in this iconic Floridian experience.

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It did not disappoint. This is what they advertised on the Go Miami site:

You’ll see over 2,000 alligators at the Everglades Alligator Farm before hopping on an airboat and cruising across the waters in search for more unique species.

Smooth Sailing- Headed Home

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It has been an interesting project recording the adventures of Rusty’s scout troop and their Sea Base adventure. This blog series has led to lively discussion as everyone’s perception of events varied just a bit, affected all the more by my attempt to share memories of experiences that I wasn’t actually privy to. While the trip was shared by 8 individuals each person’s experiences varied slightly based on where they were and what they were doing at any given moment. Some saw wildlife others didn’t and had experiences their sea mates missed because of where they were at and what they were doing moment to moment. The result is 8 slightly different recollections of the same stories. I would love to have each of them pen their own synopsis for the sake of comparison and to get each scout’s point of view but know the likelihood of getting these guys to sit and journal for me is a long shot. 😊 I did, however, have Keith reach out and share with me his personal journal entries of the week, something that was a real treat to read as it gave me a more comprehensive peek into the time Rusty and Toby enjoyed in Florida. With his permission I thought I’d wrap up this blog series with his first-person synopsis of their last two days in Florida rather than struggling to piece together the stories from what I heard secondhand.

Thanks, Keith, for sharing your memories of the last two days of this once in a lifetime adventure!

 

“On Thursday we got up early and were packed before breakfast.  We had an 11:30 airboat appointment and had plenty of time to get there.  After breakfast, we said goodbye to Sea Base and started our journey home.  While still on Islamorada, we stopped at a souvenir place because they had a huge lobster out front.

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  After quick pictures, we continued on until we got to the Krispy Kreme shop – which had their hot donut sign on.  This time the donuts were hot and soft and sweet and good!  Two dozen donuts disappeared in 3 minutes.  Traffic on this morning was awful.  The GPS, when we started out, said we would arrive about a ½ hour before our appointment.  The traffic was bad because of construction.  We missed our appointment by 10 minutes.  Our spot was given to others.  However, the next time we could get a boat was at 1:00PM.

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 Now we had over an hour to kill with the boys.  There was Miccosukee tourist village up the road about 10 miles and so we went there for a few minutes to hang out in air conditioning in their souvenir shop. 

The Miccosukee are a branch of the Seminole Indians. 

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The airboat ride would take place on their reservation in the Everglades.  Our boat driver was named Fabian.  He was dressed in a bright yellow shirt and had a long braid down his back.  The ride was scheduled to take 45 minutes.

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 We all put earplugs in to muffle the noise of the motor.

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 We stopped at four spots where alligators were spotted, one of them being a small island where a few families used to live.  Dry land is hard to come by in the swamp.   

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At one point in the tour, we saw a big male alligator, about 8 to 9 feet in length. 

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Fabian stopped the boat and climbed to the front.  He started making noises that got the interest of the gator, which then came over to the boat.

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 The gator kept rising up out of the water as if to jump in the boat, but Fabian kept pushing the gator back down into the water with his hands. 

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All the time he was lecturing us on the habits of alligators in the Everglades.  It was fun to watch.

After the boat ride, we piled into the car.  Toby continued driving until we gassed up, when I took over.  We got off the interstate just after dark and stopped at the Metro Diner in St. Augustine for dinner.  They had some huge burgers and sandwiches.  The food was excellent and then we drove on to a Days Inn where we all crammed into one room to spend the night.  The trip down taught us it was almost impossible to get any rest while driving in the van. 

On Friday morning we ate breakfast at the Village Inn and then we went to the Visitor’s Center. 

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From there we walked past some of the old buildings of St. Augustine and a cemetery, seeing the sites along the way.

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 We spent most of our time at the Castillo de San Marcos.

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 This is the old fort that protected the city through the ages.

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They had cannons from the 1700s on display.

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 The workers there had a re-enactment of firing a cannon.

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   Rusty, Nate G. and Thomas all earned a certificate and patch associated with the Historical Site by filling out an educational workbook.

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A little after noon, we returned to the van where Toby, Pete and finally Nate A. completed the drive home.  Again, Nate had to use the cruise control as we traveled through West Virginia, making it an exciting ride.  We arrived home at 1:45 AM Saturday morning to Pete’s house.  Toby was kind enough to drop everyone off.  I was happy to sleep in my bed again.”