Need a little break from the theme parks? Want to see a bit of Florida wildlife actually in the wild? You will need a car for this adventure, but it’s well worth the trip. A half day is all you need to descend into the swamps of Florida just about 30 minutes from Orlando.
Air boat adventure on Spirit of the Swamp Air Boats
We drove out to Kissimmee and Lake Tohopekaliga to the address from the website. We were a little worried as it was raining most of the way and a hurricane was bearing down on Florida. We didn’t know what to expect and we arrived to a park with a playground, a restroom, a dock area with the air boats and the address was a private residence. You check in right at the dock and they use the private house address so your GPS will get you there, it was a tad confusing when we first drove in, but it works. There appeared to be another air boat company there as well.
We met Captain Lynne from Spirit of the Swamp and boarded our boat after she put the canopy up since it was sprinkling. It was a small boat and it was just our family, which was really nice. They accept maximum 6 people so if you are 4, it’s a good chance you will have a private adventure. We booked a 1 hour ride. We got on and were told about the headsets, we could hear the Captain and we could all speak as well without pressing anything and we could all hear each other. The boat is quite loud especially when going fast so the headsets are a must. As we were making our way along the canal out to the lake, Captain Lynne told us safety features and how the boat works.
Once we arrived onto the lake, we immediately started spotting wildlife. Mainly birds, interesting birds everywhere. Vultures and egrets I believe were the first we saw. Captain Lynne was full of information about the birds, the lake and the alligators and she was funny too. We very quickly found our first alligator, it was hatch-ling season, so there were mama gators guarding their nests and babies in spots and Captain Lynne knew them all. We got to see several nests and the babies are hard to spot, they are so tiny, but at one nest we saw tons of them.
We were not sure what to expect, but we had a really good time on this excursion and am so glad we did it. It sprinkled a bit, on and off, but we were covered and stayed dry.
I had been on an air boat once when I was a child in the everglades, but I barely remember it. I do remember it being a big boat with lots of people. This was so nice because it was just us, we all had a great view, Captain Lynne would turn the boat around so we all got a great view. Alligators were just a few feet away, but it felt quite safe.
From Disney World’s Beach Club Resort, it took about 40 minutes to get there with some traffic. It took us under 30 minutes to get back to Disney Springs for lunch. We booked a morning tour since afternoons in Florida in August tend to get dicey.
I highly recommend this “off the beaten path” adventure while in the Orlando area.