Discover Central Florida's Everglades
If you feel the need to get close to nature, an extraordinary environment awaits you in the Central Florida Everglades. There is plenty to see and do when you take an adventure through one of the most unique ecosystems in the country.
Central Florida's milder climate offers animals a cooler habitat than the southern glades. In addition to the leathery crock and gator beasts, Everglades' animals include the endangered leatherback turtle, the Florida panther, raccoons, coyotes, deer, and the West Indian Manatee.
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Every year hundreds of tourists flock to the Everglades to experience the spectacular wonder and check out the fantastic species. The alligator is more than 150 million years old and managed to avoid extinction 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs died off.
Pro Tip: No Swimming Allowed! Do not dip your toes in the murky waters to check the temp. Alligators are aggressive predators who can detect the slightest movement.
Early settlers named the area "Everglades" due to the vast fields of grass that seemed to go on forever. Glades is an old English word that means an open grassy place.
Everglades National Park is a 1.5 million-acre wetlands preserve on the southern tip of Florida. Though many associate this dominant region that flows into the ocean as the Everglades, there is a sprawling section of swamps, lakes and waterways surrounding Orlando. This extensive ecosystem comprises millions of acres of undeveloped land between Central Florida and South Florida, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River Valley. Dominated by unique flora and fauna, the area remains one of the country's most prominent subtropical badlands.
At the turn of the century and into post-WWII, many thought the swampy area to be problematic and thought of draining it. Fortunately, a campaign began to save the glades and protect the fragile ecosystem. In 1960 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed a system of canals to protect people living in the area from flooding, but the initiative almost wiped out the diverse ecology. The federal government spent millions to repair the damage. Today efforts are still underway to protect the Everglades.
Visitors can take one of the many airboat tours to explore the depth and beauty of the Everglades. Orlando Airboat Tours runs both small and large barge-type boats. For a fantastic view of the diverse plant and wildlife in the tawny swamps, Airboat Safari's include sunset and private tours, one-hour tours and four-hour excursions for the adventurous!
Photo Alert: The early bird catches the gators. Early morning is the best time for alligator and crocodile viewings.
Other Top Everglade Tours near Orlando, Florida include:
- Wild Willy's Airboat Tours
- Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
- Wild Florida Airboats & Gator Park
- Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures
Pro Tip: If you're a gator die-hard, you must check out Gatorland, a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve south of Orlando.