Visiting Alligators at the Everglades! (Miami 2017)

My aunt has been to Florida a number of times and suggested a trip to the Everglades, so after 2 of our Uber drivers did as well, I looked it up and booked it! It was a slight rush but after a fun morning, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool before heading to the airport for a 10 hour flight back to the UK. 

Click here to watch the vlog or see below. 

Early to rise on our last morning in Miami and we filled our tummy's with a nice final breakfast. Shockingly, there were no sausages so after cooking them, Katherine stocked up. I opted for an extra muffin instead...

Like I said, we ended up booking one trip of our own and that was to the Everglades. When booking I was told we got a mini bus tour of Miami as well but I was really disappointed by just how mini it really was. We didn't go to any of the three locations indicated on the map preview and while the guide gave us some information, it defintely wasn't a tour.

It was interesting to see the controlled fires and learn why they are needed. Back when Miami was first being 'created' it was a swamp land so they planted these trees that were very good at absorbing ground water. Well they took over and expanded and reproduced beyond imaginable so now they need to be controlled and managed so they're slowly reducing the population.
When we got to the Everglades it was all very scheduled. We had ten minutes or so to look around and have a bathroom break before having a complimentary picture taken and a free printed copy provided. I thought that was amazing, very good value! We also had some fun taking pictures with this sign; I thought he should look proud, while Katherine argued he should look scared. What do you think?
The airboat tour of the actual Everglades isn't exactly what I imagined but it was defintely interesting. It was much more focused on the plants than the animals, but apparently given the recent hurricane, they've moved further North. It was interesting to learn about some of the plants though; I couldn't help but think of my dad.
They use some of the water Lilly looking plants to measure the height of the water as they only grow in up to 6m of water. The reeds and grass like plants mark the path of the boats and change daily. Interestingly, their roots don't necessarily connect to the ploor but instead float mid-water.
After a little while, I was starting to get a little nervous that we wouldn't see any alligators. We had already been told that this far South the crocodiles don't comes which was disappointing as it was one of the selling points, as it is the only location where both species live in harmony. Nevertheless, we ended up seeing not one but 3 alligators and it was so amazing. Babuska, Pepper and her brother, G-Man aka Grumpy.
We also saw lots of birds, especially when the guide started feeding them from the boat itself. Seeing some of their nests in the middle of the water was impressive. Vulcher Island was surrounded by Vulcher's circling overhead and in one of the tree's we even saw a mating iguana with orange spines on his back.

After the airboat, there is a show run by The Gator Boys. I actually really loved hearing about the process of alligator capturing more than the show itself. Florida provide a free service for capturing any alligators found in residence's homes. It is illegal to release these into the wild because they end up returning to the same location, almost like a honing beacon. With that being said, they can either be killed or kept in captivity for the rest of their lives.

The reason the state can provide the service for free is because the hunters sell the dead alligators for meat and their hide which is a very ludicrous business. The Gator Boys is the only service that rehomes them in captivity. It's somewhat sad but he relies solely on donations to keep them and is currently trying to do more across the world - he's recently returned from Australia - to help.
He did his show with an alligator called Stumpy, because the end of his tail was cut off, but while it was impressive, it felt a little cruel at times. Nevertheless, it was very interesting. I think the most interesting thing that I learnt about them was that they have 80 teeth, 40 and the top and 40 on the bottom. Plus they are actually hollow!
After the show, there's another little area to take pictures with other animals but we were in a little rush so we didn't hold any of them ourselves. The raccoon and the tortoise were so cute because his little hand kept going through the cage to play.
Once we got back on the bus, it was another half an hour journey back to one of the drop off locations (Bayside Marketplace) then to ours, which was the second. We got back to the hotel at 3pm and spent a few hours sunbathing and swimming at the hotel. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a room to have a shower or ready in so I showered in the outside shower - ICE COLD - and got ready in the public toilet. In the end it was fine just slightly annoying.

Saying goodbye to the hotel was sad, mainly because of how relaxing it's been and fun! We got picked up again in a literal mini van, just hilarious, and for the first time we saw the diamond flat buildings lit up at night which was fun.
Crazily, the flight back was a double decker plane and we were on the top floor. Before getting on, I was crazily excited but to be honest, it felt the exact same but nicer and ore luxurious. Bigger TV's, reclining more and more spacious. I was literally loving life.

I went to Euston straight from London Heathrow on the tube. Katherine left me a few stops before and then I stayed and used the free WiFi to go through some pictures before I could get into my old flat when Sophie returned home from uni.

That's it for all my Miami posts! I've so much fun writing and sharing them all. I will be posting reviews and links to all the companies and tours that I had experience with on the trip so stay tuned. If you've missed any be sure to catch up on all the Miami posts and vlogs:

  1. Ocean's Drive and South Beach!
  2. Jet Skiing with Dolphins!
  3. Speed Boat Tours of Celebrity Homes!
  4. My First Helicopter Experience! 
  5. Visiting Aligators at the Everglades!