Get ready for a bumpy ride through one of Florida's oldest ranches, where you'll get up close and personal with some historic farm animals.
- Visit the Babcock Ranch and let the adventure
- Converted school busy gives tour of 17,000 acres of history
We set off on the hour and a half long tour with our guide, "Jungle Joe" our source for all things Babcock Ranch.
"This is old Florida right here, nothing like viewing the wildlife in their natural habitat," Joe Ziegler said.
Sit back in and relax in their converted school bus buggy as you traverse the ranch's 17,000 acres. Getting a history lesson on one of Florida oldest ranches and meeting some of the ranch's famous cracker cowherd, dating back to the late 1500's.
The cattle aren't shy either. If your guide offers them some food, they'll mosey right on up to the tour bus.
"This is not something we get to see in Chicago. It's so much larger than you anticipate, and once you're there, it's pretty amazing, and to see all those different types of cattle is pretty cool," Julie Pichardo said.
The cattle isn't the coolest thing you'll see all day though. The tour will take you to a thrilling spot, Gator Bridge.
You're guide will stop right on the bridge surrounded by water and hundreds of alligators in their natural habitat.
"All of those alligators from our 12 miles of swamps throughout the ranch love to congregate to these pools of water. So we get to see lots of those gators tenderizing their food and swallowing it whole," Ziegler said.
Along the tour, you'll see a total of four different eco systems, the fresh water marshes, telegraph cypress swamps, the piney flat woods, and the pastures and praises.
"If you're in southwest Florida this is a wonderful place to visit, especially if you like wildlife," Ziegler said.
Once you're back on solid ground be sure to stop by the popular Gator Shack restaurant, where you can try a homemade-fried alligator bites!
Tours of the ranch last about an hour and half and cost $24 for adults and $16 for children age 3 to 12. The ranch is openly daily until 4 p.m. with the last tour departing at 2:30 p.m.