While at the beach in Florida this past summer, our family wanted to do some fun things that was very “Florida-esque”. My 8 year old “Swamp Monsters” boy very quickly decided we needed to go on a Swamp Boat ride in search of alligators. Alligators? Um, ok. I guess it’s better than snakes…..
Since we were no where close to the Everglades (we were at the beach in Destin), finding an authentic swamp boat tour, was going to be a bit difficult.
Lucky for us, Panama City Airboat Tours, had exactly what we were looking for:
Skim, Slide, and Spin across just inches of water through the backwaters, & marshes – you never know what you’ll find. Morning and Afternoon Tours where you’ll stop by and check the Crab Trap to see if you caught a bunch, run the bayous and creek looking for dolphins, osprey, and alligators!
We all climbed aboard and wore some pretty cool “protective” clothing……
Well, atleast my 8 year old thought it was cool.
But once the boat started up, I was pretty thankful to have my ears covered. This boat was LOUD!!
Off we headed into the swamp. With this vague promise:
“Keep your eyes out for some gators! They are out there!”
See any yet???
still no gators….
but pretty marshland to go through.
Halfway through our hunt, our “cruise director” hops out of the boat and starts digging.
What’s he going to show us?
a fiddleback crab!
and yes, he was made with one big pincher and one tiny one.
When you pull up to the beach, the ground is covered with hundreds of these guys. But they quickly burrow into the sand if you get too close.
He also found a shell with a big tail that he sucked in real quick.
My 8 year old was not impressed.
“where’s the gators mom?”
Off to hunt for more gators.
Think we will find any?
Yes! We found one. So what if he was a baby named “Captain Crunch” and he was there for the tourists to hold, my guy was so happy!
In fact, we had a fantastic time on the airboat tour, despite not finding much wildlife. Our boat driver showed us all kinds of interesting plants, animals, and told us what the wildlife does when the tides go in and out. He showed us the effects from Hurricane Katrina, we saw a few abandoned boats stuck in the grassy marsh. He was a former pilot who does tours for fun, so he did tons of fun tricks, like 360’s and riding over the grassy swampland.
As for the gators, the last time one was seen on an airboat trip had been in September. boo. Oh well, it was a fun experience to ride on the airboat – we all loved it!