Whether you’re searching for gators or feeding a 13 foot monster, this attraction in Central Florida has a bit of everything.
In this week’s Florida on a Tankful we took the scenic route to a little slice of heaven. Driving along an isolated road, it is hard to believe you’re 45 minutes from Orlando.
However, sitting on 15 acres, tucked away, is a spot where you can find secluded Florida wildlife, all on one these, a Wild Florida airboat.
"When you go on an eco-tour you don’t want to see a house, a hotel, or something that shouldn't be there. That's the beauty of our property. It's the head waters of the Everglades and it’s pure, untouched state," Sam Haught, owner of Wild Florida explained.
We wanted to take a trip through those uncharted waters so we hopped on board. The water stretched out for miles, giving way to some spectacular views and wildlife.
It was even perfect weather for spotting some gators. We were only on the water for 15 minutes before three different-sized gators appeared around our boat.
Wild Florida says this is the best season to see alligators of all shapes and sizes, due to the chillier weather.
You'll see plenty of other wildlife as well, including fish and a variety of birds. Even further tucked away are the cypress tree groves, a spot where you can see century old trees.
"When we take people out here we really want them to get a glimpse and to be able to see what Florida looked like 1,000 years ago. This is wild Florida and what it’s supposed to look like," Sam said.
If you ask, they'll even stop the boat, under the cypress trees, and you can dip your feet in, if you're brave enough.
Once you step off the boat, the adventure is hardly over. Take a stroll down the dock to the other side of the park. You'll find more than 200 animals ranging from squawking birds to zebras, giving you a little taste of different ecosystems.
But the best part of Wild Florida is the interactive touch, you get to meet guys like Dash, a two-toed sloth holding and feeding him.
Guests are also allowed to feed and interact with the parks' alligators, lemurs, and porcupines.
The team says it's just another way for them to teach guests about conservation.
"We hope that when you are here you see something that makes you say, 'Wow, that animal is cool. I've never seen anything like it, I want to learn more about it and possibly even learn how to conserve and project it,'" Sam said.
Reservations are required for the airboat tours, which range in price from $23 to $73, depending on the option.
But to celebrate their seventh year of business, Wild Florida will offer free admission to its gator park for the next seven months.