If you’ve ever watched CSI Miami, you’ll be familiar with the theme song, “We Wont Get Fooled Again” by The Who, wailing at the beginning of each episode. Often the theme song is followed by shots of the Everglades, maybe a closeup of an alligator, then soon after the sight whatever victim will serve as the focal point of the episode. Now picture actually being in the Everglades, minus the dead body and Horatio taking his glasses off and dropping one of his cheesy lines (which we love no matter what).
Touring the Everglades is actually an incredible experience that’s not to be missed! Not only do you get see a alligators up close, but also see the lush vegetation that’s typical of of the glades. Here is a list of the best parts of exploring the Everglades!
Riding Giant Fan Boats
I’m not quite sure if ‘giant fan boat’ is the official term for one of these vehicles, but let’s just go with it. When you’re taking a guided tour of the glades, it’ll be on one of these fantastic boats, with a guide sitting on the high chair in front of the fan. You’ll be surprisingly close to the water, which is kind of terrifying considering how many alligators roam the water but, thankfully, the boat goes surprisingly fast. You’ll also have to wear earplugs because the fan is VERY loud.
Learning About The Vegetation
The guide, who will be sitting on the high chair, will teach you all about the interesting plants and trees that surround the waterways. He’ll point out everything from lily pads to water flowers. The most interesting plants include a bush with leaves so sharp they cut like knives and a tree that produces poisonous fruit.
*Tip: don't forget bug spray and sunblock or you'll be sunburnt and covered in bites*
As I mentioned above, you are surprisingly close to the water when you’re on the boat, therefore its extremely exiting (or maybe terrifying) to be so close to alligators in their natural habitat. The guide will point out the alligators as you approach them so you can, A, mentally prepare and, B, pull out your camera. According to the guide on my boat, one of the larger alligators, on occasion, comes up to the boat and rests its head on the side. It didn’t happen when I was there, but be warned, it’s possible! 😱 One of my favourite things, was seeing a group of baby alligators swimming around, cute and deadly, but mostly cute… for now.
Coast on the Channels
Part of the tour includes riding extremely fast (this is where the ear-plugs are necessary) across the various channels of the Everglades. This is interesting because you get a sense of how big the Everglades are. In the 5 minutes you’re speeding down and gliding on the channels you cover a huge area, showing you what feels like the majority of the Everglades, but is actually only a minute fraction. Make sure to hold on to your hats and sunnies, lest they be swept away by the wind.
Learning About the Creatures
At the end of the tour, you can attend a complementary animal show where you learn alligators, iguanas, turtles, pythons and other such the animals that are known to inhabit the Everglades. The establishment I visited saved alligators and snakes that were captured and about to be put down, for reasons such as attempting (or succeeding) to eat resident’s pets, and raising them safely in captivity where they would not be a threat to themselves or nearby residents. You’ll be able to hold and interact with these animals safely, and understand them in a new way.
So if you’re ever feeling like temporarily living in the intro of a CSI Miami episode, head down to the Everglades in Miami and take a tour. Not only will you learn about a new place, but you’ll experience first hand what it’s like to be an alligator living in the glades and see a different side of Miami.
*cover image: Source