We chose this tour because of the variety of things it offered. We were picked up at a park and ride in Fort Myers by our guide Annie. We first stopped at Brite Marina in Fort Myers beach to board the pontoon ride in Estero Bay. The ride seemed hurried (we were late due to one couple getting lost), but did see a bunch of birds on an island including herons and pelicans. It was hard to hear in the front of the boat whenever Rick the boat tour guide or Annie spoke. Our husbands decided they could have easily skipped this portion of the tour (we took a pontoon ride here with friends the day before , so that could have led to this opinion also).
Next up was the drive to the Everglades. Annie commented the whole time. We did get a lot of history about the area and the people. The ride is about 1 1/2 hours long.
When we got to Ochopee we took an airboat ride with Wootens airboats. The airboat was fun and we saw a ton of alligators on our trip, along with egrets. They commented that we had seen some of the biggest alligators they had seen there.
Next up we went across the street to Wooten's swamp buggy tour. Since we were here in the dry season, our path was well marked. I expected water and mud, but was told that was later in the year. We did see deer and bear tracks in the dirt, along with raccoon. Along our drive we learned about the Seminole Indians, and about herbs and plants. We saw snakes in the tree, which was not expected. We also passed by a pond where we saw a heron and alligators. At the end we got to see 3 manatee in the water.
Lunch was at the Oyster bar. Most of our group had grouper, but all got to taste alligator. Alligator is pretty chewy. The meal was okay, but nothing to write home about. Refills of pop/soda were complementary.
We then headed to Turner Road where we saw many birds and alligators, most bigger than those we had previously seen. By this time we were all getting tired, with a long drive ahead. Our guide Annie was good, but she liked to talk a lot. We could have made due without the environmental/political comments. She also really liked birds, but not all of us are heavy into bird watching, so to us it was a little much.
Next up was the Skunk Ape Research Center where we got to learn about the skunk ape, and also hold a baby alligator, birds, and snakes. The owner is a little quirky, but has the best interests of the animals at heart.
We stopped at a ranger area, where we used the restrooms and took the boardwalk to see the manatees there. Nice stop.
I would recommend this tour as a great way to see the Everglades.
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