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“A great place to have a unique Florida experience”

Coopertown Airboats
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Our professional airboat guides will take you on a personalized, educational airboat tour covering approximately 9 miles of this unique environment. We first go into the vast open saw grass where you will see why the Everglades are called the "River of Grass"! You will travel by Airboat through a Hardwood Hammock (a small island of solid ground in the "river of grass"), into the Everglades National Park stopping at alligator holes and seeing the abundance of 'glades wildlife. See the Purple Gallanule voted the most colorful bird in Florida and the endangered Everglade Snail Kite as well as herons, grackles, turtles, raccoons and other Everglades residents! The Everglades are a truly unique and vibrant environment which you can only experience first hand! Unless you brought your hip waders, a private airboat tour is the best way to see it! (And much drier, too!) After this fascinating and educational airboat tour, relax and enjoy a taste of 'Down Home' cooking, Everglades-style. The Coopertown Restaurant offers such delicacies as frog legs, 'gator tail, catfish and more! All served in a friendly country manner that is distinctly "Floridian". "Belly up" to the bar and meet the folks of Coopertown! Learn some of the fascinating history of the area, and check out the guest book to see who else has passed through and enjoyed a ride on a Coopertown Airboat! Take a closer look at these fascinating creatures in our Alligator Exhibit! What a cute little guy! Popular enough to have a college mascot named for it! A ride on an airboat is the best way to Check out the rest of the gator population in Coopertown
Reviewed March 21, 2013

So when someone suggests going on an airboat tour, people usually have one of two reactions:

1) Sure! That sounds fun!

2) I dunno... that sounds boring, buggy, and lame.

I was in group 2, but grudgingly agreed to go because some friends visiting from out of town wanted to. It was great!

Coopertown Airboats is the first airboat tour operator you'll find on Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) when you head west of Miami, so it has the benefit of being closest to me. (The other operators further west may be great, but I've never bothered to drive further and find out.)

The tour guides, while indulging in a little good-ole-boy humor, are knowledgeable and professional. The ride lasts for about 45-50 minutes. They hand out cotton balls for use as earplugs, and they have sound-dampening headphones for the children (a nice touch that Coopertown added since the last time I was there). The airboat is quite noisy when it's operating (they stop it every few minutes to point out alligators, birds, and other plants and wildlife), but tolerable. The sun can be quite brutal out there, so bring sunglasses and put on sunblock. Hats with bills must be worn with the bill facing backwards to prevent it from blowing off the wearer's head, so they won't provide any sun protection for your face. You have been warned -- if you come back looking red as a lobster, it's your own fault.

There are several alligators that live in the circuit that the tour boat makes around the nearby region of the Everglades (evidently the species is quite territorial), and a robust selection of birds of many colors and species. The tour guides seem to know where they hang out, and have names for the regulars.

In spite of my worries to the contrary, I have never gotten a bugbite on an airboat tour - unlike in my back yard!

After the ride, they let each guest hold a baby alligator for a little while. Sounds iffy, but when you come, you'll see it's safe. They even have hand sanitizer for afterwards (it;s located next to the tip jar, by a strange coincidence).

Before or after your ride, you can visit their menagerie of Everglades wildlife in the back of the facility. There are some quite sizable alligators, plus turtles and other critters to look at.

The attached restaurant is actually pretty good at making a burger and fries, and has friendly service. The whole place has a down-home shabby appeal that Bubba Gump restaurants spend millions to fake, except this is the real thing.

Why not 5 circles?

A couple of gripes:
1) When you go to get the tour tickets, before you pay, get them to be specific about when the next tour will be. They have a habit of saying "20 minutes" that stretches into 40 minutes so they can wait for more people to fill up the boat. I know it sucks to go do a tour with only 3 people on a slow day, but don't waste my time with B.S.

2) They've added a photographer who buttonholes you and gets you to pose for an (awkward) photograph in front of a green-screen. When you return from the tour, she's tarted up your bad photo with a bunch of CGI junk (alligators, herons, etc.) and tries to get you to buy it. This is silly (I would much rather have a photo ten feet away with the real airboat and Everglades than this rookie-Photoshop mess), and wastes both her and your time while you repeat that you're not interested.

An operational note for 2013:

U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) is undergoing extensive construction to move the roadway up onto a long bridge, which will help restore the natural flow of water (as opposed to the earthen berm that the current roadway sits on, which dams it up). The construction involves closing 1 lane of the 2-lane road, and letting traffic flow through it on an alternating basis, so the drive is not as carefree (or speedy) as usual. Factor that into your planning.

1  Thank Gordon13798465
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"airboat ride"
in 166 reviews
"cotton balls"
in 27 reviews
"frog legs"
in 33 reviews
"hold a baby alligator"
in 32 reviews
"private tour"
in 46 reviews
"animal show"
in 30 reviews
"airboat company"
in 13 reviews
"air boat"
in 39 reviews
"tamiami trail"
in 14 reviews
"shark valley"
in 15 reviews
"guide driver"
in 7 reviews
"everglades national park"
in 12 reviews
"fun ride"
in 17 reviews
"their natural habitat"
in 14 reviews
"smaller boat"
in 8 reviews
"great sense of humor"
in 8 reviews
"group tour"
in 7 reviews

514 - 518 of 897 reviews

Reviewed March 10, 2013

What an amazing experience. We booked two private tours - one in the afternoon and one at sunset. We saw so much wildlife and amazing sunsets. Our tourguide - Mike - was incredible. He knew just where to find the gators and other creatures. My husband has always wanted to see the everglades and he was not disappointed. My young boys (6 and 8) got to feed beautiful purple Galinules and definitely had their fill of gators too. And I have pictures of beautiful sunsets. He really tailored the experience to meet the needs of everyone in the family.

2  Thank 1ATL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2013

This tour was a great value. You don't have a certain time to be there which gives you a lot of flexibility and the tour starts several times during the day. It was easy to find (we took a rental car) and there were parking spaces. With a coupon or when you book in advance it's only 20$ which is a really good price for the tour.
Our tour guide was very friendly and funny, and the whole tour was informative but not boring. HE stopped several times. At one points, he would offer to get off the boat: Barefoot in the Everglades was a great experience!
Later we saw a 12 foot blind male alligator, and several smaller ones. He mentioned that it was too cold and travellers ususally see more alligators. But still a good tour! After the tour they let you hold a little baby alligator and you can take pictures.
I would definitly recommend this tour!

2  Thank Annemarie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

Look for the coupon in hotel room's travel magazine for $2 off.  The owner and driver were very nice and informative.  The ride out was awsome and he actually parked the airboat and let passengers to get out and walked in the Everglades.  He warned he cannot guarantee any sighting of the alligators but we were able to see at least three, close enough that we were almost able to touch it and took good pictures.  After the airboat ride we were also given a chance to hold a baby alligator for picture. It was the highlight of my son's trip.
Overall I would recommend anyone who is interested in nature to get out of Miami city and try this.  It's very reasonable price and educational. 

1  Thank Iluvhellokitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 14, 2013

When I booked the tour I was hoping to rip around the everglades in a perpetual drift hanging on for dear life all the while gripping my GoPro desperately trying to secure the footage I desired. What I got was an eco tour of a swamp. I need to be 30 years older to appreciate that tour.

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

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