Airboat, Everglades and Miami...Part II

Trip Start Oct 01, 2010
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Trip End Oct 01, 2011


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Where I stayed
Big B

Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hopeful that the recent rains would somehow help with Florida's dry spell, we stopped at the Alligator Farm to get our airboat ride on! In order to ride the airboat you also pay to see the alligator/croc/snake park. We were scheduled for the 11:20 ride and made it just in time for the start of the alligator show. A guy shows you he can manhandle a gator in a non-aggressive way? The best part is at the end, you get to hold a baby gator.

We then jumped on our airboat ride and the driver said they hadn't received any rain this far north (even though it had rained in the Key's!) so the water level was still low and the mud would be kicked up. We put our headsets on, rode through the saw grass, passing wild gators, turtles and birds. We did a few 360 degree turns and splashed water/mud around. The scenery was breathtaking.

Then we went to the gator feeding. Apparently these suckers can go 6 months without eating so this feeding was just a taste of what they really get to eat out back. It was like clock work. All the gators swam up to the feeding area, climbing on top of each other (300+). The same guy who did the earlier show was now tossing rats at them. An abbreviated time at the Alligator Farm but we actually enjoyed it. There's plenty to keep you busy and in the mean time you can see baby gators in their sheltered habitat, different species of crocs, snakes and gators abound.

On the way out we stopped by Roberts, which was recommended to us by my friend, Kelly, and guidebooks. Their produce alone was worth the visit! They are more known for their smoothies/shakes. Their best seller is the Strawberry/Key Lime Pie shake. It was too sweet for my liking but if you like sweet stuff, it'd be a treat!

We found out that the Everglades Flamingo campsite is free during the summer but we weren't sure if that pertained to RV's. In need of some catch up days, we headed in that direction, albeit a bit suspicious of "free" summer camping. We stopped in the Everglade's Ernest Coe Visitor's Center and watched a video on the Everglades. The Ranger explained that tent camping is free and it's $30 for RV's but they now have electric hookups. She warned us though, "The mosquitoes have hatched." I was totally grossed out by those words and my skin had goosebumps as I imagined swarms of them attacking us. She recommended two short walks with more of an open area = less mosquitoes. As we drove through to show our Annual Pass, I read the notice board, "Mosquitoes High." 

We parked and walked around, enjoying the view and we didn't feel/see any mosquitoes. We decided to try our luck at the campsite and drove down towards the Flamingo VC, armed with repellent. There seemed to be a little lookout area by the water so I hopped out of the RV. As I waited for Steve, I thought to myself, "What are they talking about? Mosquitoes?"

Just then, I felt something torpedo into my right, upper eyelid. I looked down on my shirt were tiny looking bees but they had to be giant mosquitoes. Steve was still in the RV, doing who knows what?! I'm running around in circles because clearly the mosquito repellent liquid that practically melted into our bathroom set from all the chemicals, was not working against the enemy. Steve finally shows up, explaining that a mosquito got in while I went out and he was trying to kill it. I told him about my visitors.

We made it this far, nearly 45 mins drive from our first walk so we wanted to see the view. We ran over, took a few shots of nothing fantastic, I saw my eye puffing up in a mirror I passed and we agreed, NO CAMPING! We got in Big B and left the Everglades.

The next day we went and drove around Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Calle Ocho in Little Havana, Miami Beach and just kept going north. Still never saw anything in Miami to rave about. There are a lot of nice homes and an equal amount of gorgeous boats/yachts. Upper Miami Beach has more high rises. We never made it to the beaches in that area. Not sure about all the glitz and glamour. Maybe we should have taken the Millionaire's cruise but I'd rather watch Teen Cribs/Cribs for free! 
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