Monday, May 23, 2016

Exploring South Florida, Part I: The Everglades

After finals, I stayed at school for an extra week to complete the labs for my online summer class, Environmental Science. We spent the week exploring and adventuring in southern Florida, doing all kinds of exciting things ~ like taking nature walks, going on an airboat tour and a swamp buggy ride in the Everglades, and boating and fishing for critters in an estuary. We also got up close and personal with some alligators ~ I even held one!

Even though I've gone to school in Florida for two years, I haven't done much exploring down there. So it was really exciting and fascinating to see and experience some of Florida's awesome wildlife, unique environment, and sheer beauty. 

Today, allow me to share with you my adventures in the Everglades! (A heads-up: these adventures include bears and alligators.)

Airboat Tour
We went on an airboat tour with Wooten's Everglades Airboat Tours, and it was such a blast! Our captain, JR, shared lots of interesting facts about the Everglades, and he enjoyed driving the boat really fast and taking sharp curves ~ causing us to get sprayed with water, of course. It was so fun though ~ and so beautiful, as you can see!

Swamp Buggy Ride
Next we went across the street for a swamp buggy tour, for which we drove through the swamp as well as on land through the woods (as you can see). It was beautiful, and we saw all kinds of wildlife, including deer (lots of babies), squirrels, and even a black bear! (bottom photo) He was a 3-4 year-old bear who has lots more growing yet to do, and who was contentedly munching away on some corn when we pulled up near him. He was so cute! 

Alligator Time
This same place had lots of animals in enclosures, like crocodiles, otters, panthers, and of course alligators. One employee demonstrated, with the alligator in the top picture, how the Native Americans used to capture and tie up alligators, and he also gave lots of interesting facts about gators. Then he showed us a smaller type of alligator, which we got to hold! So there's me, holding a little alligator ~ he was so cute! It alllllllmost made me want a pet alligator ;)

Stay tuned for another post or two about my lab adventures ~ I have more exciting stories and pictures for you!

Have you ever been to the Everglades or to Florida?


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