Going to Florida usually means a theme park commando raid for our family (all adults, no one younger than 25), but this year She Who Must Be Obeyed refused to visit the Mouse again. We selected Fort Myers for our destination for no particular reason, and it turned out to be an excellent short-term destination (just 4 days). The highlight of our trip was a full-day tour presented by Everglades Day Safari. It was our good fortune to be guided by Rick Cruz, a very experienced tour guide, nature lover, and skillful photographer. Rick was a fountain of information and trivia, delivered with playful banter and entertaining anecdotes. He personally led us through the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, and drove us through the Everglades preserve, pointing out the sights and recommending photo ops. We were also delivered to a boat ride through the 10,000 Islands Estuary in the Everglades National Park (a few dolphins that day, no manatees, and hundreds of birds). Our day ended with an airboat ride on Lake Trafford, where we observed more than a 100 alligators on the near 1-hr ride. The full-day fare was pricey, but a fair value given what we derived from the experience (since it was the off-season, my family was the only guests on the tour, so Rick catered to us -- you only get attention like that once in a lifetime). A lunchbreak was provided and the cost is covered in the tour fare. All in all, the best event of our vacation was this tour, and I would recommend it strongly to just about anyone. My only hesitation: the tour guide is such a critical component of the experience, and Rick was excellent. I can't comment on any other guides with the company.
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