We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Negatives, positives, average....”

Big Toho Airboat Tours
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Attraction details
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed August 16, 2014

I found a groupon.....and my experience began with this company! After calling several times with no answer, I finally left a message. No return call. I called on a Monday morning, talked to someone, I explained I had a groupon and wanted to make a reservation for later in the week. He said any day was good at 11. I asked if there were later times and he said 11. I joked with him on that, and he said 11. I pushed and he finally said he does his groupon tours at 11, 12, and 1. I asked about the later times and he said 11. OK! 11 it is.

Yes, you meet at a liquor store. This bothered me. But he gave clear directions, I messed up, I called him, he redirected me. The liquor store is clean. A couple homeless people hanging around but no problems. Clerk said the airboat guide would arrive soon. Another party arrived. They used the bathroom, I did not, so cannot comment. Owner arrived, Captain Joe. He has a small table and one chair in a corner of the store. He took my groupon voucher,, my credit card, and $8 for parking, cash only. My groupon voucher stated this, but was $6.

We followed him to Lake Jackson. He clearly told us we'd be doing this. We received no map, handwritten or printed. He did not mention we should use the bathroom or have a decent supply of gas, but common sense tells you this. He did inform us we'd be out in a wildlife management area, well away from town. So common sense should prevail with gas and bathroom issues.

It is a nice drive with good roads. You will see St. Cloud, neighborhoods, schools, parks, and then farms-cattle, horse, planting farms. Some small rivers and lakes. It is a pretty drive overall, about 40 minutes, take or give a few. You do then enter this state natural/management area, which has the parking fee. Captain Joe stops here and puts money in a pole drop, and we get a pass which we are to put on our inside front dash. AND, a ranger did come by and check! So, that is the Parking FEE everyone seems to complain about. It is a long dirt, dusty road, with some bumps. Not bone rattling. Park, get on boat. I think he should have offered a hand to the ladies in our group, when getting on and getting off. He did not. Other men in our group did! Thanks to them. He went to park his truck/trailer and seemed to be gone longer than it should have taken. Off we go!

Our trip was one hour. There obviously was no 12 PM trip this day. He sticks to the edge of the lake quite a bit, and also takes you out in the middle. He does a few quick turns and speed ups with the boat, so you get somewhat of your thrill ride. A few more of those turns would be fun! Wildlife-we saw 4 snouts of small gators a good distance away from us. We saw several birds. One small turtle.

We were told we would see gators, and maybe hogs, deer, and snakes. He told a couple of stories of hogs and snakes. He did take us to the den of a female alligator. I felt safe, unlike other reviewers. Other than those stories and statements he said nothing. He did not inform or educate us about the lake, wildlife management, the area, the birds, the plants, trees, or flowers, not even about his airboat, which I am sure the kids and men would have liked. He did tell us after the boat ride ended, and he got tips, about how we could stay in the park all day, use the viewing tower, trails. None of us were inclined, and we all chatted afterwards that we felt we got an average rated experience. We all felt he should have talked a lot more about the things we were seeing. We all tipped him. There is a big sign on the front of the boat, that you can read when sitting in the boat, that he works for tips. HMMM, I am sure he gets paid too! And I am sure there is a new outhouse near the launch, so there is a bathroom out there, if needed.

So, I enjoyed the airboat experience and the lake. Can't help how much wildlife you will see. But I do think certain aspects of this company and tour could use improvement.

The one thing that we all noticed, was the fact the Captain seemed to be chasing the large white Anhinga bird around the shoreline! I thought this was just my feeling, but it was not. We all stopped at a gas station after leaving, and discussed our tour. So, one aspect WE did not approve of.

So, average rating. And that's my take!

5  Thank tymetraveler222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (151)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

101 - 105 of 151 reviews

Reviewed August 12, 2014

Captian joe took us out in th everglades. We originally planned to go go to hawaii but because of the storms we ended in florida. So we had little plans but looked this up and it sounded fun! It was very different than most tours I have ever been on! First we met a guy in a liquor store who looked like mick dundees and one of the duck dynasty's babies. we paid our fee for the tour and he gave us a parking pass for the state park and the map to our destination. We drove to the everglades were we met the boat and the captain. We saw all kinds of birds and plenty of crocs! Joe even avoided a strom for us and told us all about the area and things that lived there. He was really nice and a wonderful tour guide who showed us a unique side of florida that most would look over. Highly recommend thjs excusion for anyone who needs a break from the noise and busy city

3  Thank Ron D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2014

I just read someone elses review from August 2nd, we had the EXACT experience on August 1st.

I purchased a Groupon for my husband and I. I called 3 times to make a reservation and finally a man answered when I called at 830 at night. I should have known then this wasn't going to work out well when he said we meet at a liquor store and have to pay $6 parking. He was even rude about making sure I knew that using a GPS to find the store would require entering a zip code. Yes.... I'm not stupid.

We were going to Disney with a group. When another couple found out we were doing this they decided to do it too. They also then purchased a Groupon.

We did not schedule together or request tours together. Neither of us cared what day or time. The tour operated scheduled us each when we called separately on days and times of HIS choosing know we both had Groupons. I called a week earlier and we both mentioned having Groupons as it does say one per party. We were both scheduled by the tour operator on the same boat not by our request. So he put 2 Groupons on the boat, not us.

So the day before we are discussing and realized we are on the same tour. We had a car so my husband offered to drive them too. We got the store and waited for the operator to arrive. I approached him, he took my Groupon then wanted $10 to cover tax and parking. The additional "tax" had not been mentioned, but whatever. So then he mentioned leaving and I said there was another party waiting too. So they then approached him, itt was obvious we knew the other couple. He got very upset and said if we came in the same car we are one party and he would not honor the Groupons. Mine was already redeemed at this point.

We could not leave the other couple in this liquor store for the next 4 hours or so. Instead of even discussing options, he stormed out screaming at us. My poor husband was in the restroom and missed the entire thing. I asked our friends husband (ex marine/cop) to please go get my $10 back. The operator gave him only $6 back keeping the "tax" money. He ran away screaming at us "I don't' need your business, I have 6 other parties coming today" and took off. His boss then called my friend yelled at her for swearing at his operator. Yes, she did swear at him, but he deserved it.

So in the end.... he redeemed my Groupon and ran away from me. I'm 45 year old non threatening woman. My husband comes from the bathroom ready to go and I"m siting in the car in amazement at how I was just treated. So, I'm waiting to see if he tries to charge my credit card his $25 cancellation fee. I don't think that will work though since I was there on time, ready to go, redeemed my Groupon and paid my extra $10 before he ran away without me. This was one of the most bizarre experiences I have ever had.

So we ended up at Boggy Creek Airboat rides and it was fantastic.

22  Thank AnnieMichelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bigtoho1, Owner at Big Toho Airboat Tours, responded to this reviewResponded November 14, 2014

We at big toho try to make everyone happy it seems to us some people want to take advantage of a deal called groupon.i have ran this deal for a while and it seems to be a small percentage of people that use the groupon and I repeat a small percentage because we have done thousands of groupon but for some reason some people think I need to change my policy for them.but if everyone who looks at these reviews will read these and that all bad reviews come from people who does not read directions on the groupon no matter of excuses we aim to give a great product and do not steal you make reservation you need to follow the rules and disrupt the store and all the other people who went on the tour and had a great time that followed the rules

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2014

Not your usual airboat tour as quite strange paying in a liquor store. Also we had to then travel another 40mins to get to the boat ramp. After the initial concerns the trip and our captain Joe was really enjoyable. We got to see plenty of wildlife and also some alligators in their natural habitat. Our captain Joe, was informative and entertaining. We had a great time and also had photos with a baby alligator at the end of our tour. Overall a great experience but one piece of advice would be to make sure you visit toilet before you go as lake is really is the middle of nowhere.

Thank Karen T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2014

When trying to figure out payment details, which would have been too easy if explained correctly, the man in the liquor store became rude and hostile. He kicked us out. Then the company charged us for "cancelling". How can you cancel if you're told you cant ride?

9  Thank wb6849
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Big Toho Airboat Tours also viewed

Kissimmee, Central Florida
Kissimmee, Central Florida

Been to Big Toho Airboat Tours? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing