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.
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.
The Everglades National Park is home to exotic snakes, crocodiles, turtles and native birds, and you’ll get the chance to see them all on your guided tour of the area. Whizz across the shallow waters enjoying views of the marshlands and rivers of grass. Your guide will provide the commentary as you go and point out all the creatures along the way. At the Alligator Farm, you’ll also get entry to the shows, talks, and feedings which include a snake show and a thrilling alligator show.
Everglades Alligator Farm and Airboat Ride highlights:
Alligator show – see how the expert handlers interact with the creatures, learn about their care, and meet a baby crocodile.
Alligator feeding – watch alligators chomp down their lunch at this unique viewing. Learn how they catch their prey in the wild and all about their eating habits.
We arrived, checked in, and headed in to the alligator farm to stroll around and enjoy the animals before our scheduled airboat ride at 11:20.
As we entered, the first enclosure we passed was home to a very talkative parrot who delighted us with his banter and human like giggles.
From there we strolled through the snake house that was home to a wide variety of late list reptiles, before we headed to the alligator nursery.
Here we got to see enclosures filled with young alligators of varying ages, from small 8″ to 10″ hatchings to larger young.
As crazy as it sounds, they were actually very cute.
We were all excited to get more hands-on with these reptilian babies, so we headed over to the alligator show. We had just enough time to catch the show before it was time to board our airboat.
The gal running the alligator show was wonderful. The show was a great combination of thrilling entertainment and educational facts. For instance, we learned that an alligator’s brain is only as big as your thumbnail, which is why it’s considered an instinctual animal and unable to be trained.
At the end of the show guests were allowed to come up to the front and hold some of the alligator hatchlings.
Their mouths were taped shut so we could safely handle them on our own without the assistance of a trainer.
It was a pretty cool experience to get to hold a baby alligator.
Definitely one of those once in a lifetime, bucket list experiences!
From there we headed over to the dock where we would be boarding our airboat for a ride through the Everglades.
As we loaded onto the air boat we were all given ear protection to combat the noisy fan that would propel us through the swamp.
The ride started off nice and easy, as we worked our way through thick brush and hanging trees that lined the water. It was here we caught our 1st glimpse of a wild gator… one of many we saw on our airboat ride.
We also caught sight of two iguanas and multiple water birds that call the Everglades home.
Once we were on the open swamp the driver let the boat take off. We flew across the top of the water, picking up speed, before he would jerk the steering stick to the left, spinning the boat in donuts across the top of the swamp.
The kids found this thrilling!
After our airboat ride, we had a 1/2 hour to explore the other side of the alligator farm before needing to find a seat for the alligator feeding.
While we were exploring Toby made quick friends with the emus.
These pushy birds knew the source of their treats and hovered around the animal feed boxes waiting for someone to the deposit a quarter and feed them.
Rusty found a loose quarter in the bottom of his bag and soon the others were making friends with these pushy, oversized birds.
After a final stop to watch the larger alligators be fed as part of another interactive show,
We headed out for our next Miami adventure…
With an unexpected detour along the way!