Thursday, July 7, 2016

Everglades Holiday Park: We Took an Airboat Tour of the Everglades!!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by US Family Guide and Everglades Holiday Park.


This is a good friend of mine and my kids are lucky enough to call her aunt. She looks sweet and innocent, but I'm telling you, she's a crazy woman when it comes to adventure! For the last 13 years we've lived in separate states (though we did visit each other from time to time. She even flew up to Michigan to help decorate my youngest son's nursery...yeah, that's a good friend). That means we've got a lot of fun time to make up for, and to help us do that, this summer we've created a 'bucket list' of sorts that we're slowly ticking off one by one. Some of the things she puts on there really stretch my adventure zone. ;)  I'm no slouch in the adventure department, mind you. I'll travel most anywhere, ride any rollercoaster, and I really am down with trying new things... but some things make me nervous...like driving fast, airboats (not the boat itself, just the fact that we're over dangerous things...I know weird, we'd probably never end up in the drink, but if we did... lol!), and white water rafting (something on her list we haven't done yet *gasp*).


I will admit though, when I go along with her on these events, I do always have a grand time. This trip was no exception. We recently took the drive down to Ft. Lauderdale and while there we visited the Everglades Holiday Park (another thing we did on my birthday weekend) .

My son and blue-tongued daughter just before the airboat ride.
Crashley Ashley took us out on the boat. That's the nickname she told us was hers, just before she took us speeding over the alligator, crocodile and python filled water of the Everglades. ;) She was actually a very safe driver though, and the ride was not only fun, it was informative. 


The vehicles have marine-grade speakers on them, and a noise reduction system so clear it means you don't need headphones & you can still hear every single word your driver is saying. The boats run on twin engines (800 hp), so yeah...those suckers fly! They're actually very comfortable though, with a glass shield in the front and a completely covered top (so you don't end up drenched or getting a sunburn, depending on the weather). You settle in comfortably on the bench seats, and just sit back (or lean forward, depending what's alongside of the boat) and enjoy the ride.


You'll see a lot of vegetation and hear about the environment while you're moving along. Some of the things you will learn are fascinating (like the pythons are trying to dominate the alligator population), you will hear things that are sad (The  Everglades are improving but they are still in trouble!), and you will see some things that make you smile (like the colorful birds hopping from leaf to leaf, following alongside our boat).


You'll come across others who are taking the same tour too...


and you will see some folks who are out there doing their own thing.


The boats leave every 20 minutes and the tours last an hour. They run 7 days a week, rain or shine.


You can a free 5 x 7 photo of yourselves too, with the boat area as the backdrop, before you board for your tour (love this perk, photos are my favorite souvenir!).


Before or after your boat ride, you'll also have a chance to watch an expert interact with the alligators. All of the gators are animal rescues. taken out of places like your neighborhood pond or canal. 

They keep them contained because alligators are territorial and known to find their way back to where they came from... who knew???


I forget the gentleman's name who ran the alligator show (my daughter knows it, she's a fan of all the Gator Boys) did a great job!! I'll tell you what though, I wouldn't take his job for a million dollars. In fact I wouldn't take it for two. Probably because just before he did this photo opp, he told us a gator could instantly snap bones or crush a a human head. When he let go of the gator you see above, its jaws made a hard, fast popping sound. I'm not going to lie, I jumped.


We learned some cool facts though (no spoiler alerts here), and came out with a better understanding and even more appreciation than we had going in, of the alligator population.

All in all it was a wonderful day and we learned quite a few things. You should know that Everglades Holiday Park Park received over 350,000 guests last year, has received a certificate of excellence for five years running (including for 2016), and it consistently ranks in the top ten (out of 121) for things to do in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (on TripAdvisor). They've got a great upgrade coming too (again, no spoiler alerts here), but stay tuned, it's going to be fantastic.

Learn more about Everglades Holiday Park by visiting their website. You can also follow along on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

79 comments:

  1. I've never been down there. It looks like you had a great time. That alligater show must have been entertaining.

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  2. I have been wanting to take an airboat tour. It looks like so much fun! I'm going to have to look into this. I think they have airboat tours close to my house :)

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  3. I really think this is a fun tour especially if you're bringing the kids! And it's a great way to get around and explore the surroundings. I'm sure you all had fun!

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  4. Airboat tour should be really fun. I want to try it someday.

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  5. I've never heard of airboats before but this post made me want to try them! It seems like you had a lot of fun

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  6. I imagine airboat tour to be a lot of fun! I would love to do this one day. xx

    www.annanuttall.com

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  7. Taking airboat rides is one of my fave things to do! What a cool experience to visit this park.

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  8. This looks like so much fun! I love it!

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  9. How fun! Airboat tours are the best! We had the chance to go on one a few years ago, and it was an amazing experience.

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  10. haha yeah, no way, I wouldn't for a million bucks either. Airboats I can handle, but a job with gators, no way.

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  11. I would love to do this. Anything that involves boats is something I would want to do.

    Your son is so handsome.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

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  12. That just looks awesome! What an experience for kids and adults alike! Not sure about handling the crocs though!

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  13. That looks like so much fun! I'd love to go on an adventure like this.

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  14. That looks fun. Never been on an airboat. I had no idea about the gators finding their way back, but it makes sense.

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  15. That sounds fun! I've never been in an airboat either. How fun. She sounds like a great lady to hang with because excitement comes with her.

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  16. What a cool adventure! I have never been on an air boat, but it looks like so much fun!

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  17. I've always wanted to go on an airboat tour of the Everglades. That would be really fun.

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  18. I have always wanted to go on an airboat tour in the Everglades. It looks like a really fun exerience.

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  19. How cool! I've never been on an airboat, but they seem like such an experience. I know the kids would love it.

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  20. I have never been on an airboat but that certainly looks like something that I would love to do with my family.

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  21. No amount of money would get me to do that job! Reptilian like animals freak me out. I would happily sit in the boat and go on the tour though :)

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  22. I grew up in FL and used to drive through the Everglades on our way to the Keys, but I never stopped to take one of these rides. I'm glad to see there is a place for rescued gators. Always makes me sad when human interaction causes animals to be displaced or killed.

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  23. I lived in FL for more years than I can remember yet I never went in an airboat tour! I totally missed out!!!

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  24. What a fun experience! But, I would be so terrified of the alligators!

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  25. Oh, those alligators are a little bit scary! I want to have an upclose interaction but I am worried that they might bite me.

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  26. Looks like fun as long as the alligators don't bite.

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  27. I want to experience the airboat tour! I hope those gators are not hurt during any tour.

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  28. Aw! That man looks really tough, I will not risks my life for it! However, I still want to see these alligators in person.

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  29. What a fantastic experience to have, love this! I never thought to try to do this sort of ride, totally neat!

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  30. Wow, how fun! This looks like such a fun experience. I'd probably be too chicken but would love to try it! - Jeanine

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  31. Taking airboat tour is so exciting! What a great experience you had! Love the photo where an expert interact with the alligators!

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  32. I agree, I wouldn't take his job either! CRAZY!!! Looks like a fun experience though!

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  33. It sounds like you indeed had an amazing time visiting Everglades Holiday Park. I would love to visit there some day and ride the air boat. It is awesome you are crossing things off your bucket list. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  34. This sounds like so much fun. I want to tour the Everglades one of these days. My husband has seen the Everglades and has shared a story or two about it.

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  35. It's great to have such a friend.

    I've seen some of these adventures here in cajun land but haven't thought of being involved at all, but now you make it seems such fun!

    I wouldn't mind experiencing it.

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  36. That looks like a lot of fun. I've been on boats similar to these before and they are fun. It's nice to be able to check everything out. That would have been neat to see alligators. I've never seen any before!

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  37. That looks so much fun. I don't know how these gator boys become friendly with alligators; scary to me.

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  38. Oh my god that man is so brave I would not like to do his job for all the money in the world. I would jump too!

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  39. YIKES! Crocodiles! That airboat needs to fly a bit higher haha

    Yep, that's what I call a real friend.

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  40. I've always wanted to ride an airboat. Good thing you guys had fun!

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  41. Though I have heard a lot about airboats, I never had a chance to get in to fun trip anytime before. Sounds like you have had a wonderful experience & I would love one such trip anytime, except for those scary alligators!

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  42. oh so that's what those things are called. an airboat. I've always wanted to ride one or better yet drive one! what an awesome photo journal and description. hahaha that dude is crazy get so close to an alligator blimey! be it looks so entertaining to watch lol. I would love to visit this place and do all the amazing things you've experienced

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  43. I have always wanted to go on an Airboat. This would be a fantastic adventure my kids would love.

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  44. That looks like a total blast and is something I'd love to do someday.

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  45. I have never been on an air boat before but it looks like it would be so much fun!

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  46. Oh I would love to take the boys there! Looks like fun! (not the part where the guy's head is just above that gator's jaws...umm....scary!!

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  47. Well this is exciting and adventurous! Thanks for sharing but that gator...wow just wow!

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  48. Oh my gosh! This sounds like so much fun! That boat is awesome!

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  49. I have always wanted to ride on an Airboat! This looks like a ton of fun. My husband rode on one last year and said it was one of the most fun things he has ever done.

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  50. Looks like so much fun! Even living right here in Florida I forget about all the neat things the Everglades have to offer!

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  51. I would love to visit the Everglades and see all the sights. It's definitely on my list of places to visit in my lifetime.

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  52. The Everglades is definitely on our to-visit list. This looks like it was a great trip. Those Gator Boys look rough and tough!

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  53. Gators are such scary creatures but it's good to know more about them through this show. The gator boys are impressive because its really dangerous being near alligators.

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  54. An adventurous woman that influenced you for the ride of life. Really, learn from her to do these travels and gain indight from it.

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  55. People who enjoy adventure will surely love to visit this place and experience it all the same. The noise reduction system is so cool!

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  56. I've never been, but now I have somewhere else to put on my vacation list! Thanks for the info, it seems like something more people would be interested in.

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  57. Aw! we should have visited this awesome Park while we are in Jacksonville, Florida 3 months ago. Great photos that make me more eager to see this place the next time we visit our friend in Orlando.

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  58. I am so squeamish when it comes to alligators and crocodiles but this tour sounds really fascinating.

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  59. Looks like one fabulous water ride and animal encounter experience. Were you allowed to touch thr alligators?

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    1. They had some babies you could touch and pose with if you wanted. We opted out but lots of people were doing that and getting photo opps. They looked very happy (I was hot and opted to sit under the shade tree and enjoy the water view for a bit instead) :)

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  60. We did this last year. It was fun but boy was it hot!! I kept worrying that an alligator was going to jump on the boat.. lolol

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  61. I've driven through the Everglades but I've never stopped and seen the sights. Looks like I've been missing out!

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  62. I had considered taking an airboat ride the last time I was in Florida. Alas, I didn't really have the time. But I would to do it some day.

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  63. Looks like you all had a great and fun adventure. Now I wish I had done this with my family when I was in Florida few years back.

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  64. Looks like a great time and educational! Beautiful scenery too!

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  65. I will have to do this the next time I'm in So Florida. Oh gosh, I don't think anyone can pay me to do what that man is doing in the photo. He's brave! And it's great that they are caring for these gators.

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  66. I think I would try this. You have to do new things and try fun stuff and this is right up my alley.

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  67. Sounds like a perfect vacation spot for the whole family! I've never been there, would love to visit

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  68. The Everglades look beautiful and I would love to take that airboat just to see them. But I wouldn't dare come near an alligator!

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  69. They say if a friendship lasts more than 7 years the relationship will be forever. Happy for you and your friend and its really sweet to call her aunt

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    1. She really is their aunt, I'm just not married to her brother anymore. ;)

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  70. This looks so much of fun and adventure though I never sat on an airboat.

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  71. Airboat seems to be very cool...I would try to get this experience as well..

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  72. I love this park! It's one of our favorites when were in the Everglades. I love their conservation program.

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  73. We had hoped we would have had a chance to take this in when we were in Florida but we ran out of time! Planning our next vacation so this is on our new list.

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  74. Oh gosh, I'm so shocked by the guy holding the alligator! It's heart popping without watching the real video, just by looking at the photo!

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  75. Looks so adventurous... Oh my! The photo with the crocodile.... Airboat sounds cool!

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  76. Being adventurous is a very lovely way to live. It would be an awesome experience to have with you, your children and family members. The alligator and crocodiles will be a new aspect of vacation to explore.

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  77. The guy with the alligator is crazy!

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