We choose our Everglades fan boat ride by looking through the on-line reviews, and we were very happy with the experience at Sawgrass recreation area.
If you do a similar web search, you’ll notice that there are fan boat tours all over the “Alligator Alley” area. Sawgrass was closer to where we were staying – just 30 minutes from Fort Lauderdale – and the admission included a wildlife area for the kids to explore after the ride.
Our fan-boat Captain, Al, was very knowledgeable and entertaining. We had fourteen passengers in a large 2-fan boat that had a half-dozen empty seats. The boat was very safe for our 4 boys (ages 5, 11, 13 and 14 at the time). Sawgrass gave us ear protection for the noisy fans.
A “fan boat” or “air boat” are comfortable and safe boats that seem to glide on top of the water with a large fan in the back that pushes you through the grass at speeds of up to 35 mph! The guides really knew their stuff and were entertainingly educational.
Al took us through quite a few grassy areas and we saw several American Alligators, turtles, egrets, ibis, and fish. We saw one particular alligator ‘up close and personal’ as he came right up to the boat! He told us stories of the invasive species of trees that early Floridians (Flagler & friends) planted in an attempt to dry up land areas for future pastures. Unfortunately, these Australian-native trees spread and spread and spread (they look like dead tree trunks all over the Everglades). There has been an initiative to ‘inject’ these trees to prevent their seed-pods from spreading.
At one point in the ride, we even got a hands-on tutorial of the namesake Sawgrass…a 3-sided, sharp-edged grass that will slice you up good if you grab a hold of it as you fly through it on the fan boat! Aptly named for a cutting tool, sawgrass is no joke.
The Everglades fan boat ride was a huge hit with the whole family! We had such a good time and snapped a ton of pictures. All the fears of holding on for our lives or getting our camera wet were for naught. The ride was safe, dry, and fun.
After the ride, we walked through the wildlife area (included in the fan boat ticket) and saw more alligators, panthers, wolves, snakes, lizards, and other creatures found in the Everglades. The boys even got to hold a juvenile alligator and get their picture taken…very neat (and quickly became their phone / iPod backgrounds and sent to friends?!).
You can even meet “Cannibal”, Sawgrass’s 1000 pound American alligator; “Shaggy” the Crocodile; and Kaa the enormous Burmese Python…not to mention iguanas and the many other Everglades friends! Getting to stroll through this wildlife area and learn more about what we saw on the fan boat ride was an added bonus that we really enjoyed
If you and your family are looking for a fun adventure in the Everglades, check out out the fan boat ride at Sawgrass Recreation Area!