We were looking for something to entertain Matt & Sarah while they are here and learned of Alligator Cove Airboat Nature Tours from other people at Tanglewood who had gone there and really enjoyed it. I emailed them and made the required reservation. They also answered all our questions about what to wear and a few concerns I had about bringing my camera. The drive is about an hour north of Sebring to Camp Lester which is east of Lake Wales, FL. There is a public boat launch at Camp Lester and Alligator Cove Airboat Nature Tours is located next to the boat launch. They have an office and dock right on the water. The tour lasted two hours and was wonderful! Each airboat holds 6 passengers and visibility is completely unrestricted. Cost per person is $50 cash and Captain Darald & his wife Dee also offer group discounts.
Our tour lasted about two hours and fifteen minutes. We opted for the nature tour instead of the birding tour but Chris & I will definitely go back for the birding tour while we are in this area. Captain Darald is a wealth of information about the flora and fauna of the Kissimmee basin and has fully researched the history of this area. All this makes for a very interesting tour. We saw cypress trees that were over 600 years old and were simply astounded by the birds and alligators we encountered. I sat next to Captain Darald and got some great shots with my 300mm lens and 1.4x tele extender. We saw snail kites, red shouldered hawks, bald eagles, great blue heron, snowy egret, great egret, purple gallinule, limpkin, anhinga, cormorant and many more. I'm slowly working my way through all my photos and will post more photos in the coming days.
This last shot is a photo of the photo Dee provided us with as a keepsake of our airboat adventure. We will definitely be back again!