We had to stay overnight in Fort Lauderdale after a cruise, and needed something to do in the afternoon with three kids who were coming off their first cruise (and therefore used to something new and great everyday!) We saw the ad for Everglades Holiday Park in the local South Florida guide which had a coupon for $3 off adults and $2 off children (who must be 11 and under)
The place was packed when we pulled up, full of locals for the fishing and tourists for the taking. The cost for our family of five was $75 (with coupons, tax, and oldest daughter was considered an adult) for both the one hour airboat tour and the alligator "wrestling" show. Have just come off a cruise, this was one cheap shore excursion (think of it this way, it was $15 pp). To add to the shore excursion feel of the place, they even took our photo before the tour and offered it for sale for $10 when we returned (we did buy it, it was great looking and $10 5x7 plus a keychain...i.e. we forgot the camera at the hotel!!)
The tour was with an old-salt "I live in the Everglades" guide who was awesome. We learned "a bunch of factual useless stuff" about the Everglades, enjoyed whipping through the Glades at high speeds and saw three adult alligators, one three year old and one baby less than a foot long. In addition, we learned about and saw native birds, exotic species and iguanas (big four footers up in the trees!) Our guide made sure everyone got to see the gators we came across. Our older daughter, who is highy skeptical of everything, actually enjoyed the tour (red letter day).
The alligator demostration afterwards was short, informative and pure old florida tourist trap at its finest. We absolutely loved it, and tipped generously.
This is not for everyone--but for family fun and a nostalgic trip back to the touristy Florida of the fities/sixties that I could share with my kids--well worth it!
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