I’m not sure if it was the first time I saw an airboat chase on TV or in the movies that I said, “I want to do that!” This trip I was going to make it happen! Located about 30 minutes from the EPCOT resorts is Boggy Creek Airboat Rides. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect when I booked this for my family. The thoughts of an airboat in someone’s back yard, rusted and leaking gas came to mind. I was pleasantly surprise when we pulled into the driveway to see a professional business!
We booked our airboat ride for 9:30am, as I was told the best time to see wild life is in the morning. The airboat was much bigger than I expected as it comfortably held 12 people on the boat. What I have learned on tours like this is that the driver is part of the experience. Our driver was Chad and he reminded me of Bobby from the reality show Lizzard Lick Towing. He was funny, gave us a fun ride, but really knew the history of the area which made our tour even more enjoyable.
We put on our ear protection, fired up the big fan and we were on our way. It was only a few minutes before we were slowly trailing a four year old alligator. He was about a six footer, however in the back of my mind I was thinking, “mommy maybe around here somewhere, keep your eyes open!” As we started to go faster through the water, it was pretty cool feeling the wind on your face, eating a few bugs from smiling so much, and circling back to jump our own waves! All of a sudden the fan shut off and I was wondering what was going on. We removed our ear protection as Chad pointed to just above the trees. Sitting there on top of the trees was a bald eagle! It was truly majestic seeing a bald eagle out in the wild. As we snapped as many pictures as we could, the bald eagle took to flight. He must have known we were tourist as he almost posed flying above the airboat for a quick picture.
As he flew away we were told we were going to see an alligator nest. As we crept up on the nest, we noticed sitting right next to the nest was a BIG gator! I’m glad it wasn’t until later when my old college roommate told me that an alligator can jump its entire body length out of the water. I might have thought twice about leaning over and taking a few pictures. Its one thing seeing an alligator in a controlled environment, it’s completely another seeing them in their natural habitat.
After everyone got some pictures it was out on the open water again! We went slowly past some beautiful lily pads and flowers, and then opened up the speed once again for a final ride back to the dock. We were cruising about 30mph through the water with smiles on our faces! When we returned we were treated to a little alligator lesson and actually held a baby alligator! My daughter, her friend, my sister and her family all held the alligator, the one person was obviously missing from the picture was my wife Kathy! She was just fine sitting in the background a safe distance away.
If you are like me and always wanted to take an airboat ride, I would highly recommend Boggy Creek Airboat rides. You can check them out on-line at http://www.bcairboats.com. I can’t wait for their new video to be posted, as we were followed around by a camera crew during our tour. I can guarantee you the smiles on our faces are real as this was truly a great experience. When I woke up the family at 8:00am so we could be there on-time, there were a few doubts about the trip. On the way home, everyone said they were so glad I woke them up as this was one of the highlights of our trip!