I have a slight confession to make. Not only was I born and raised in Florida~ and have never been to the Everglades but I am DEATHLY afraid of alligators. It’s just something about their cold blooded, double eyelids, and their sharp teeth that could eat me in one bite that does it for me. Anybody with me? My children have been requesting to go to the Everglades for months, so I sucked up my fears and headed down to the Everglades Holiday Park. Featuring magnificent Florida views, plant life, wildlife, the Famous Animal Planet’s Gator Boys, and thrilling airboat rides……..I was in for quite the adventure.
The kids were soooo excited to get on board, little ones in their vests (provided) and my 5 yr old clinging to Daddy’s arm for dear life.
Luckily for me, the airboat tours featured covered passenger boats ensuring my safety against the ferocious gators. I think they say the cover is for protection from the elements- but I’m going for protection from gators. As we picked up speed, I was glad that I had protection from the wind, water, and bugs. I loved feeling the wind through my hair- helps with this Florida heat! All the littles squealed WEEEEEEEEEEEE!!
Our airboat tour guide took us out into the middle of the Everglades to experience wildlife in their natural habitat. The views were amazing! Through the tall grasses we could see birds, turtles, and fish…….but I had my eye out for the prize.
Finally, out of the corner of my eye I spotted him. The airboat tour guide brought us closer and shut off the engine so as not to scare him away- we wouldn’t want that to happen now would we ;).
Within another 10 feet or so was another one. I was surrounded. They swam closer to the boat without any care of their danger- all the while I feared mine. The airboat tour guide told us that they aren’t really a threat to anyone and prefer to just be left alone. They were “almost” majestic in the water. My boys LOVED it- I kind of lightened up a bit.
Back on land, we got in line for the Gator show put on by none other than one of the Gator Boys- or in our case one of the Gator Girls! Filming for this hit Animal Planet show takes place right there in the park (or in the surrounding Everglades). But it isn’t just about their crazy alligator wrestling skills, it’s about the rescue.
Ashley taught us all about alligators, from their teeth to their skin. She also taught us about the rescue, and why these large ferocious appearing creatures need to be rescued from lakes, ponds, and even pools in neighborhoods. Some are injured and some just get accustomed to being fed that they get a little too close for comfort. This trick Ashley did was a little too close for me.
And these gators were nothing like the ones we saw in the wild……they were ENORMOUS!
The show is very family friendly, and the kids got a front row view! Luckily, they had thick mesh fencing, so no little fingers could poke the alligators. They all wanted to be face to face with them.
If that just wasn’t close enough for you, the have a baby alligator you can hold for a $5 donation. My kids just wanted to touch it…..even the baby!
It was a overall amazing educational experience that I am sooo glad my children had the opportunity to do. It’s been a few weeks and they still tell all their friends about the time they were face to face with a real Florida gator! We can check air boat ride off our bucket list now! Holiday Everglades park offers airboat tours 7 days a week!