Spring Break 2009, Air Boat Ride
On our second day in town, we headed out to the Sawgrass Recreation Park to take an air boat ride through the glades. Sunday we pretty much just recovered from our late arrival the night before. Monday was very warm so we took the kids to see a movie. Yesterday was just about right, clear and a bit cool. We almost thought we would get rained out on the drive down but the sunshine held out.
After a short wait, we packed into a boat with about two dozen other tourists. The large boat was driven by two enormous propellers, we all got free foam ear plugs with our tickets. The boat captain was able to give us some good information about the wildlife as we rode out. From the dock, I was expecting the ride to be a bit monotonous. Sitting down on the flat boat hull, though, just inches off the water makes all the difference. When he gunned the props, the ride was exhilarating. When the boat coasted, it was calm, almost serene.
Most of the wildlife we saw were birds. We actually got to see some rare ones, notably a flight of glossy ibis. I got many good pictures from both out on the boat and the park’s wildlife exhibits. It was apparently a bit too cooler for the gators, we only saw one though from a very close distance. I was astonished at how well some of the raptors we saw blended into their surroundings and impressed at the distance from which the boat captain was able to spot them so he could bring us in for a closer look.
After the ride, we walked through the wildlife exhibits. The park apparently takes in injured and abused animals, ones that for various reasons cannot be returned to the wild. Liam actually held a baby gator, a small snake and a bearded lizard. There was also a bit of excitement over an escaped chicken pecking around the pens with the domestic and semi-domestic animals. Andrea and I definitely enjoyed the exotic animals section the most, mostly the big cats.
They had a Florida mountain lion, though he was sacked out under a ramp and difficult to get a clear view of. They also had two black leopards. One of the pair got up while we were there and played around about before resettling perched on a large rock. More of a surprise, they had two wolves, a timber wolf and an arctic wolf. Not surprising at all, they were also dozing through the afternoon heat.
As Calum said when I was chatting with him on the way back to the car, it was better than expected. I am glad we went and will be posting my pictures once we return home to our more stable, and definitely faster, fiber connection.
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