Monday, April 16, 2012

National Everglades Park & Buffalo Tiger Airboat Tour

I have been to Florida many times but it was always to go to Disney or Universal Studio. I only left Orlando one time to go to Miami and once on a business trip to Ponte Verde Beach. This time I wanted to explore other parts of Florida, but we only had 4 nights. The best price I found on tickets was to fly into Fort Lauderdale and drive down to the Keys which is about 4.5 hours so we booked our trip and planned as much as we could in 4 days. Our first stop to spend the night was in Florida City, right beside Homestead, FL which is where you can get to the National Everglades Park within minutes. I looked up online what were the best places to see wildlife and the ones closest to us where the Anhinga Trail and about 40 minutes back up North to Shark Valley. We went around 8 am and it costs $10 total for the 4 of us, which gives you access to the park for 7 days.

When we first got to the Anhinga trail, there were birds everywhere, so many different types, alligators and turtles. I loved the park more than anything on the trip, just to see so many types of wildlife, was beautiful. I am a HUGE animal lover and sometimes I can't keep my hands off of animals and I for some reason develop a trust with animals that can be dangerous for me. I do truly believe that animals know how much I love them and adore them and would never hurt them and I seem to have a lot of them (wild animals) come up to me, I need to learn to be careful.

Here are some pictures from our morning and early afternoon at the park.

After we walked through the Everglades, we stopped at Buffalo Tiger for an Airboat tour through the Everglades. On our drive up to Shark Valley we saw a lot of Airboat tour places, Gator Park was one of the ones I had printed coupons out for, but they all had tour buses and were jam packed. When we passed the Buffalo Tiger one, it didn't have many cars so I went online to read about it. It's owned by an Native American Indian and reviews said it was not as touristy as the others, so that was one thing that attracted me to it. I am so glad we picked this one because there were only 9 of us on the boat with extra room, not completely full. Our tour guide Ernie Redwing was awesome. He was so nice and so fun. We rode through the Everglades and stopped many times where he would call in the wild alligators with a clucking noise he made with his mouth. It was amazing how they would come right up to the boat. He fed them bread and even picked some up by the chin. We actually had 2 things happen, we were very low on gas and stalled out for a bit, at first I thought it was a joke being part of the ride and all but then realized it wasn't. We got back to the dock and filled up with gas, then on we went. All of a sudden we ride up into a bunch of plants and got stuck, I then realized he let the one lady on our ride drive the boat. When he told her to pull up to stop, she drove up on the plants and we all had to rock the boat with our weight to get out, the whole time I thought this was planned, I really thought it was part of the excitement but they all assured me it wasn't. We stopped on the way back at a small picnic type area and Ernie called another alligator up out of the glades. He asked a few of us to feed the alligator and I was so calm for some reason and wanted to. You have to lightly tap the top of the alligators nose and then he/she will open it's mouth SO wide and you throw the bread in. I was a little nervous because of how wide they open their mouth. It was a wonderful experience and I highly recommend using them.  It was $20 per person ( for parties of 3 or more) and I tipped Ernie $10. But memories of a lifetime and what an experience!

A small video on our airboat ride, they give you cotton balls for your ears to help with the noise.


  1. Hello, The presentation style of your blog is very nice one. Lots of good information you provides to us. I mostly loved wildlife animal & I am much more crazy about it. But I have never seen them in real.

    Miami Everglades Tour

  2. Thanks for such a wonderful post. Just want to enjoy airboats tours orlando.