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We rounded the corner and suddenly, there he was, massive and silent staring at me with his reptilian eyes. He looked like a prehistoric monster, sunning himself in the mud of the swamp and I could imagine one small movement of his massive tail effortlessly knocking me over.
Our tour guide, Chris, informed us that once an alligator locks his jaw, there is no way to get him to let go (alligators jaws have 3,500 pounds/square inch of pressure in their jaws)…if the alligator gets me, the best thing I can do is just hang on until he decides to let go, lest his rolling snap my limb off.
We enjoyed our tour of Lake Tohopekaliga (which happens to be the headwaters of the Everglades) and despite the fact that we were just a little ways outside of busy Orlando we felt worlds away.
We saw a huge variety of wildlife despite the cool, cloudy weather (as a tip, our guide told us that we would have seen more wildlife if it had been warmer and sunny).
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When choosing an air boat tour, you really need to be careful that what you are getting is the type of tour that you want. Apparently, many air boat tours in Florida are mostly there to take you our on the lake for 30 minutes or so and zoom around on the air boat. You might go find an alligator and see some birds, but nature is not the primary focus of the trip.
Something else to consider – some air boats hold more people than others. If being on a smaller boat with less people in a more intimate tour setting is important to you, make sure to choose a tour operator that fits this criteria (many of the generic, cookie cutter air boat tours offered can have 20-40 people on the boat.)
Orlando Air Boat Tours/Marsh Landing Adventures is a small, family owned company run by folks who are passionate about the tours that they give and about the ecological diversity of Florida’s ecosystem. They offer small group tours focused on enjoying Florida’s wildlife, not just zooming around on the boat.
The folks at Orlando Air Boat tours took great care of us. This is an excellent family activity (our little 5 month old even loved it!) If you are looking for things to do in Kissimmee Florida or as a part of your visit to Orlando, this is a nice break from the theme parks.
Our tour was graciously provided by Orlando Airboat Tours. As always, all opinions are my own!