A must do: I paid $28 for a 30 minute airboat ride, but since business was slow the pilot kept us out there for over 45min.
Anyone going to central Florida or further south down the peninsula, into the Everglades proper, really HAS to do at least one Airboat ride, it’s obligatory. I did this as sort of a last minute trip before heading north out of the land of Amusement parks (aka Orlando). I had intended to do it since arriving in June, but weather was unseasonably warm this year, and it wasn’t till January that it was finally cool enough for me to be willing to spend a full day in the sun — they were finally having a cold snap that demanded a sweater. I have to say it was very pleasant ride.
Perhaps it was the location (near Orlando which I opted for over driving an hour away from town) but the ride was more about being out in the sun and the wind, and enjoying the view, than about seeing wildlife — although we did seem some. In the picture below, if you put your nose right up to the screen and look to the left of my shoulder — just to the right of the chain — you can see a large grey spot which is a smallish alligator (although its easier to see in the bottom right image). I think we MAYBE saw two alligators the whole trip.
The bird in the image to the bottom left is one that is almost extinct (I forget the name). The driver told us that they seeded the swamp with a type of snails that these birds like to eat, and because the boat kicks up the snails from the bottom the birds have learned to follow the boats. All in all a highly enjoyable trip. Personally I think a 45min trip was long enough.