June 23, 2017

Family Fun: Taking an Airboat Tour in the Everglades

Kate & Clare on the Airboat Tour

Kate & Clare on the Airboat Tour

I’d been wanting to take a trip to the Everglades in South Florida for quite some time. My in-laws live just north in Palm Beach County, so access to Everglades National Park is an hour or less from their home, depending on the park entrance you choose. Last month, I finally had the chance, and took my daughters, Clare (age 9) and Kate (age 8), to Coopertown Airboat Tours on our way to the Florida Keys.

Interestingly, Kara of The Vacation Gals was on the same path that week with her kids, and we didn’t even know it. So, if you’re thinking about the Everglades, check out her review of Gator Park Airboat Tours. In her post, she describes the airboat tours as a “roadside attraction,” which is pretty accurate. Every few miles down SW 8th Street in Miami, you’ll hit an airboat tour operator ready to take your family out to see the alligators.

Our Guide Holding a Baby Alligator

Our Guide Holding a Baby Alligator

When we first arrived at Coopertown Airboat Tours, we took in the wildlife show in which one of the tour guides showed us various animals, including an iguana, a couple of snakes and a baby alligator, which was maybe eight inches long. The tour guide was very knowledgeable about the animals, answering all of our questions and even letting the kids touch a couple of the reptiles.

Once we finished with the wildlife show, the kids got a chance to hold a larger alligator with two hands. Definitely a nice photo opp, and one that you’ll probably get at all the airboat tour companies (I noticed that Kara had very similar pictures from her experience at Gator Park).

Then, it was time for our airboat tour. The tour lasts maybe 45 minutes and the alligators really are everywhere. They swim right up to the boat, which honestly, made me a little nervous sometimes, not that they could actually jump into the boat. We probably saw at least a dozen. A highlight, for sure.

kate gator

Kate Holding a Small Alligator

If you go, bring sunscreen (we did get a little burned out there on the water) and your own ear plugs. The staff will give you cotton balls to put in your ears since the airboat fan can be quite loud, but if you want more powerful ear protection, ear plugs are a good bet.

Once the tour was over, we ate at the on-site Coopertown Restaurant. I was not especially adventurous with my meal choice, though I did see other diners opting for the frog legs and gator tail from the menu.

Buy your tickets online for Coopertown Airboat Tours to save about 10% on the ticket price. Adults are $22 each ($20 online) and kids ages six to 11 are $11 each ($10 online). You’ll also have the opportunity to take home a souvenir photo for an extra $10.

Disclaimer: We received free tickets to check out Coopertown Airboat Tours, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

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