Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Brandcation: Airboats, Birds and Gators, OH MY!


Part of our spectacular Brandcation weekend included adventures to two amazing places where we had the greatest adventures and saw some incredible sights.

Our first stop on Saturday morning was Boggy Creek Airboat Rides for a wonderful, albeit COLD, glide through the wetlands on a beautiful wildlife tour.  While we didn't see any alligators because of the weather, we did see some beautiful birds, including some soaring bald eagles, and gorgeous scenery.  We had a lot of fun riding in the boat, especially when the pilot would swing the back of the boat around - it was kind of like an amusement park ride. Weeeeee!!

Here is what the website says about the tour:

"Our airboat tours start with a leisure idle down a natural canal viewing exotic birds, turtles and the Florida alligator in their own natural environment. Then you will fly like the wind into the swamps experiencing the awesome feel of an airboat ride traveling up to 45 miles per hour. Boggy Creek Airboat Rides is the best way to experience the beautiful Central Florida Everglades. We offer 3 airboat tour choices. 30 minute airboat ride on 17 passenger airboat, 45 minute private airboat tour on 6 passenger boat & the 1 hour night airboat ride. In the warm seasons the best time to see alligators is at night. If you are not able to go at night we suggest coming first thing in the morning."


We did get to hold a young alligator named Elvis after the boat ride and had our photo taken being "attacked" by HUGE gators.... I totally LOVE this photo and am having it framed to hang on my wall. 

I will definitely be taking my family back to Boggy Creek Airboat Rides for another tour.... but it will be when it is warmer, I am such a Florida girl! HaHa

Check out the website for ticket information, locations and tour information.

On Saturday afternoon we headed off to Gatorland in Orlando for lunch and more information on conservation and animal preservation.

Here is some information on Gatorland that we received in our press packet:

"Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining “Old Florida” charm with exciting, new exhibits, unique animal encounters and daring entertainment.

Known internationally as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” Gatorland provides affordable priced family-fun with thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with boardwalk and observation tower, one-of-a-kind reptilian shows, aviary, petting zoo, children’s wet splash area, educational programs and much, much more."

I know that I have said this many times in my posts for Brandcation, but we really did have a ton of fun at Gatorland.  When we first got there, we were able to hold this absolutely adorable baby gator named Fluffy, who surprisingly was really soft. We had THE most amazing guide who explained everything to us (and he really was easy on the eyes) and even took us to feed these ENORMOUS gators. Since I'm not really that agile, I chose to be the photographer while my friends fed the beasts these huge chunks of raw meat.  It was simply incredible to be so close to majestic creatures, some weighing up to 1300 lbs and were 13 feet long.




 We also had the privilege of seeing some very rare leucistic (white) alligators. They are simply beautiful.  Here is information from our Gatorland press kit about these amazing creatures:

"The rare white alligator collection features four of the world’s largest white leucistic alligators known to roam the planet. Ivory in color, the large reptiles are each ten to eleven plus feet in length, weigh over 800 pounds and have reflective blue eyes that are believed to have the ability to command good fortune to those lucky enough to make eye contact with the blue eyed beauties.

No one knows why Mother Nature produced only one nest of these incredible white alligators. Vulnerable to many predators, because of the lack of skin pigmentation depriving them of natural camouflage; they likely would have never survived in the wild. Collected from deep in a Louisiana swamp, the ivory reptiles were part of a clutch of seventeen infants recovered by workers from the Louisiana Land and Exploration Company while surveying the area. The group later brought the hatchlings to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans where only a few of the rare reptiles survived."

Then there was the "Gator Wrestling" (a really cute show) that people of all ages will enjoy, plus our own opportunity to sit on Oprah  - a REALLY big gator... you should have seen the two guys trying to help me get back up - thank goodness there are no photos of than. HaHa!  Along with the amazing birds, flowers and other animals we got to see, plus Gatorland provided us a filling lunch. 





Head over to the Gatorland website to learn all about their events, their education center and how to get tickets. It is definitely a place that is fun for the entire family.

It was an amazing day of fun, laughter and learning. Another place that I will be taking my family back to for a day of adventure!

Thank you to Tanya of MommyGoggles for providing me with a couple of the photos of me. :-)

{Disclosure: Thank you very much to Boggy Creek Airboat Tours and Gatorland for providing admission and tours for all of us as part of our Brandcation event. The opinions expressed herein are those of mine alone.}


Stef H said...

you are just having too much fun! and i've been to GATORLAND!!!!

happy, happy THANKSGIVING!

hugs :)

Tami W. said...

Now I am just too jealous! Of course, I spend a lot of time jealous of you!

~ Noelle said...

marc and the boys would love this!!

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