In the Headwaters of the Florida Everglades

A Short Report

We are in Orlando, Florida, this week. This has been a long-planned trip with the two great-grandchildren—Thomas (9) and Katie (6). We have been looking for entertaining experiences that would be a little different from the (in my opinion, overpriced) usual big-name theme parks. We went out to Boggy Creek, Kissimmee, for an airboat ride in search of the ever elusive Florida alligator. In addition to the possibility of spotting a ‘gator, just the sensation of “flying” across the water at 45 miles per hour—with a few tight turns thrown in for effect—was almost as good as a roller coaster.

We had a perfect cool, still, clear morning, and we had an airboat and guide all to ourselves.

Both of the youngsters were like steeled lookouts searching for alligators. Alligators or not, there was much to see. Emerging from a thick area of marsh grass, we spotted a bald eagle sitting on a post about three feet above the water, patiently waiting for an unsuspecting fish to swim by. He took note of our presence, but stayed on his perch.

A Bald Eagle studies the water around him in search of a fish dinner.

A Bald Eagle studies the water around him in search of a fish dinner.

Farther along, while again probing the nose of the airboat through dense marsh grass, we came to a small opening where a great blue heron stood directly in front of us. He eyed us and then decided to take flight.

A Great Blue Heron startled into a quick takeoff.

A Great Blue Heron startled into a quick takeoff.

Shortly after that, Thomas spotted the only alligator we would see from the airboat. It was about two feet long, swimming along the surface directly in front of the airboat. We followed it for 15 or 20 yards before it turned into even denser grass.

Thomas spotted this two-year-old alligator among the floating plants in a dense section of marsh grass.

Thomas spotted this two-year-old alligator among the floating plants in a dense section of marsh grass.

Our captain, Eric, was very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in this area of the Everglades and pointed out and identified most of the plants and birds that we saw. He also explained that alligators grow about one foot in length each year, therefore the two-foot ‘gator was about two years old.

After about 45 minutes, and several high-speed dashes through the grasses and across open water, we returned to the airboat base at Boggy Creek. There, Thomas and Katie got to meet a four-foot alligator up close and personal. Both of them were eager for their ‘gator experience—no hesitation.

These two are not the least bit intimidated by this four-year-old 'gator. (The ‘gator, named Stanley (really??), on the other hand is wondering how much longer he has to suffer this indignity before he can go back to his pool!)

These two are not the least bit intimidated by this four-year-old ‘gator. (The ‘gator, named Stanley (really??), on the other hand is wondering how much longer he has to suffer this indignity before he can go back to his pool!)

We have to thank Captain Eric and the folks at Boggy Creek Airboat Rides for a truly thrilling experience.
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
2001 E. Southport Rd
Kissimmee, FL 34746
407-344-9550
http://www.bcairboats.com

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