• Drive for hours in general direction of Everglades.
• Stumble upon row of airboat companies; pick one. We
went with Captain Jack’s, which lets you “hug” a baby
alligator and offers free admission to its animal sanctuary.
• Buy boat tickets for the next available ride.
• Expect to wait at least an hour.
• Wish you packed more food than cheese, crackers and
• Kill time signing waiver, handling baby alligator, walking
around junky area, using port-a-potty, sanitizing hands at
least twice, planning for sanctuary after boat ride.
Mom and Les with alligator statue in junky
area (in what mom called a junky photo)
• Rear turbine engine that looks
like a giant fan provides noise
• Totally flat bottom lets boats
glide easily in shallow water
atop branches, sticks,
alligators and lost hats.
• Two benches for passengers;
back seat for captain.
• Racing airboats hit speeds of
130 mph, but tour boats stay
around 40 mph.
• Boats have forward, neutral
and reverse options.
When the airboat glides
over an alligator, the boat
just pushes down on the
alligator with no keel or
propeller to cause injury.
Final boat thoughts
• Tip Capt. Steve and
he’ll show you shortcut
out of the boatyard.
• Tip your hat on the ride
and it’ll probably blow
• Location is few miles
down the road.
• You’ll get your alligator
fix, with more than 100
alligators on hand.
• Overall vibe is kind of
sad, with kennels and
gated ponds (although
the animals are rescues
from the wild.)
• Heed the yellow signs.
• Yes, it’s fun.
• Yes, I enjoyed it.
• Yes, I’d say try it at least once when in Florida.
• Yes, you want to remember your sunscreen (oops!).
Different airboat companies provide different experiences,
such as mangroves vs. grassland rides, narrated vs. see-
for-yourself rides, and single sessions vs. combo package
with swamp buggy option. Ours was a see-for-yourself
mangrove whirl where we saw all mangroves tend to look