Wild Florida is a place where you can experience a piece of the true wild Florida. It offers several activities to get as close as possible to the local nature and its inhabitants. So, if you’re ever in Orlando and its surroundings, stop here because this place is definitely worth a visit.
History of Wild Florida Park
Wild Florida was founded in 2010 by brothers Sam and Dan Haughton, who are passionate about nature and its inhabitants. These brothers had a vision to create a place that would not only allow visitors to experience the beauty and uniqueness of Florida’s nature but also help protect the local fauna and flora.
Initially, they started organizing airboat rides, thanks to which you can get to the center of the local marshes and thus see the landscape of Florida from different angles. However, they gradually expanded their activities to include other attractions, including an alligator park, an exhibition of exotic animals, and educational programs.
Florida’s unique ecosystem needs to be highlighted and help preserve the local wildlife that is home to many unique species. The creation of the Wild Florida Park helps the Haughton brothers in this. And they are succeeding. Wild Florida is not only educational but also entertaining for all ages.
Where to find Wild Florida
Wild Florida Park is located on private land on Cypress Lake in the headwaters of the Florida Marshes in Everglades National Park. Specifically, we can find it in the Kissimmee area, about an hour’s drive from Orlando. The journey here is pleasant, and the highway and wide district roads lead nearby. Google navigation also has no problem finding the place; you won’t get lost anywhere.
Wild Florida park attractions
The Wild Florida facility offers a wide variety of attractions that allow visitors to experience the beauty of Florida’s wild nature and come into contact with local animal species. Tickets for attractions are purchased separately or in discounted packages. Some of them must be booked in advance by phone or email. And what does Wild Florida have to offer?
Ride on airboats
Riding on airboats is one of the main attractions not only of this park but also of many facilities that provide rides through the swamps of the Everglades National Park. Visitors can drive through marshes and lakes and watch alligators and other wild animals in their natural habitat. They are primarily different birds, like herons or eagles, but if you are lucky, you will also see alligators. During our drive, we only saw almost meter-long alligator “babies.”
There are several types of rides: half-hourly, hourly, and those at sunset. Those who set out early in the morning or late in the afternoon have the best chance of seeing alligators. The airboat propeller makes noise, but it’s nothing terrible, and you also get headphones. The ride was pleasant, nothing extreme, and our four-year-old son enjoyed it. Only once were we surprised by a swarm of flies that we ran into. The entire ride is also commented on. If there is something to see, the captain of the boat will stop and tell you a few points of interest. At the end of the ride, it is advisable to tip the captain for his interpretation.
The airboat ride is one of those attractions that must be booked in advance. Check the park’s website for availability and ride times. And then, all you have to do is buy tickets and write an email with the time when you would be interested in the ride.
Another part of the Wild Florida facility is a mini-zoo, with a significant section dedicated to gators and crocodiles. They have terrariums and a large pond where they swim happily. There are many footbridges and gazebos above the pond from which you can observe them. If you also buy exceptional food at a nearby stand, these lizards will open their big mouths at you, and you will then throw them the treats through the bars.
In the terrariums, we can find special types of gators, for example, albinos or babies. Wild Florida actively participates in the protection program of these animals and then returns rescued or recovered individuals back to nature.
Another attraction of the gator park is guided feeding, when the caretakers place pieces of meat above the water, and the lizards try to “jump” for them and snatch them for themselves. At the same time, it reflects with its massive tail. At the same time, during this performance, you will learn a lot of interesting things about these animals, including, for example, the difference between an alligator and a crocodile.
In Wild Florida, I can find, among other things, a wonderful small zoo sensitively embedded in the local environment. As mentioned, part of it is occupied by big lizards, but there is room for other animals. Here, you will find small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Again, a show with small animals is organized here, where you sit on benches, and breeders gradually bring and show you exotic animals, such as an armadillo or a tiliqua. Some lucky people are allowed to touch them.
And what other animals can we find here? Cute parrots hang out not only in aviaries but also sitting freely on the railings; funny macaques and other monkeys, fossas, porcupines, snakes, or popular sloths. There is also a contact zoo with farm animals, including the possibility of feeding them. Children will certainly enjoy the children’s playground.
The last attraction of this part is the trail over the Florida swamp. It’s a bit dark and creepy. Every few meters, signs are waiting for you with inscriptions like “Don’t touch snakes” … and you look around, waiting to see a snake or an alligator.
Another separate part of Wild Florida is the safari. It’s a classic place you drive through, and large mammals and birds pass by. It is forbidden to get out of the cars and also to open the windows. The only point where you can get out of the car is the giraffe platform. You can even feed the giraffes with prepared leaves from this tower. The safari park is great; it’s another experience, just something to consider if you have a rental car in Florida. For example, ostriches sometimes like to peck.
When you get hungry
Wild Florida is one of the few places where you don’t go through X-rays when you enter, and your bags aren’t searched for food. On the contrary, you can easily bring your food here and eat it at one of the pleasant picnic spots.
But you don’t necessarily have to prepare a picnic in Wild Florida. The park offers several options where you can eat. The main place is the Chomp House Grill dining room, which offers not only grilled food but also reasonable prices.
There are also other kiosks in the park where you can buy something small for your hand, a drink, or even an ice cream.
You can’t miss the main souvenir shop. There is a reception desk and a cash register in one. It’s a good idea to stop here and see what’s on offer. You can also find products made from alligator teeth or local handmade items such as soaps, tinctures, or carved trinkets.
Don’t forget to notice the world map full of pins at the entrance. Here, visitors to the park can stick pins in the places from which they came to Wild Florida. And it’s interesting how far they got to Wild Florida. And if you are also from an interesting place on Earth, mark it on the map.
Prices of admission
Ticket prices for Wild Florida vary widely. It depends on whether you only buy tickets for individual parts or one of the discounted packages. And the prices of such packages, in addition to entrance fees, you can also find lunch, souvenir photos, or private encounters with animals. For example, a 30-minute hovercraft ride costs $35 (10/2023) for an adult. In addition to the ride, the price also includes entry to the alligator park. There are many options and combinations of different inputs and experiences, so it will be difficult not to choose what is closest to you personally.
Tips to save on Wild Florida admission:
- Consider one of the discounted packages that the park offers
- Discounted entrance fees are often offered by intermediaries, such as Get Your Guide or Undercover Tourist.
- The biggest discounts here can be found on discount portals such as Groupon.com.
In conclusion, Wild Florida Park is a great place that combines adventure, education, and the wild beauty of the swamps of Everglades National Park. Here, you have the opportunity to explore the local ecosystems not only from the deck of the hovercraft but also up close in the adjacent zoo. In Wild Florida, you will find another world, a peaceful but wild and dangerous place, practically untouched by man.
Where to find Wild Florida?
3301 Lake Cypress Rd,
Kenansville, FL 34739