Thursday, September 10, 2015

Zip-lining Over Gators, I-Drive Nascar Racing, and AirBoating thru the FL Everglades



Rounding out the incredible week I spent with travel bloggers in Florida, going to Gatorland offered me an opportunity to check-off another bucket list item -  zip-lining. We had the chance to do it at this very family friendly attraction in Orlando.

Hotel Note: For those of you looking for accommodations in the Orlando area check out: Hilton Orlando and many more options.

Entrance to Gatorland
I'm not sure why it looks like I'm screaming at Elizabeth, because I wasn't. Must have been the heat. Gatorland is massive. They have 110 acres of marshland, great for birders...



...hundreds of alligators and crocodiles. Some are even rare...


...like this leucistic gator (similar to albino). There are also tarantulas, boa constrictors...

Jordyn and her new friend

...and my pal on my head...I believe it's a dragon lizard.


I wasn't afraid of the lizard...he was relieving himself on my head. The real highlight for me was the zip-line. At a height of 56 feet and a length of 1200 feet, you can zip over pools of crocodiles. Feels just like flying, quite liberating.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Stilwell

Ladder bridge, photo courtesy of Gatorland

DIZZY NOTE! I had no dizzy issues with the zip-line. However, unbeknownst to me, in between two zips was a ladder bridge. A very swinging ladder bridge, where you hold on to swinging cables to maintain your balance while the very swinging planks you step on are swinging every which way. I was doing okay until the next zip-liner got onto the bridge with me and everything started to bounce. You're safely latched on, but half way through I truly felt I wasn't going to be able to make it. But I did. So, those of you with balance disorders like me, if you try this out let them know ahead of time that you want to skip the plank bridge.

Next up was a trip to I-Drive Nascar.



Also located in Orlando, this dazzling entertainment complex has a bar and restaurant...

...and a bowling alley...


...as well as gaming rooms and private banquet halls. This place is great for family get-togethers or groups of friends. But it was the eco-friendly electric indoor kart racing we were there for.


I didn't win, thank you Steve and Jordyn, but I didn't come in last either.

DIZZY NOTE! I was a bit hesitant about this. My eyes are challenged to track smoothly and racing on a course like this at about 45 miles per hour made me wonder if I'd finish and be able to walk a straight line...but once again, I was pleasantly surprised. I was fine.

For a completely different change of pace, we drove over to Kenansville, FL to experience Wild Florida Wildlife Park and Airboats.

Photo courtesy of Wild Florida
Located just south of Orlando, in the center of the state on Lake Cypress, is this totally interactive park, great for young and old alike. You'll find a wide range of wild life here.


Mama sloth

Her baby
There are also lemurs and alligators...


...and zebras, and parrots, just to mention a few.



Eco-friendly and wanting visitors to experience the way Florida used to be in the "unspoiled days," Wild Florida offers spectacular rides through the everglades on U.S. Coast Guard approved airboats.


Photo courtesy of Wild Florida
It was nothing like I expected. We've all seen airboats on television and in movies flying around, spinning donuts, but this was so serene. Sure, at times we were going pretty fast but it almost felt like we were gliding through the air. And our captain stopped several times to let us witness gators protecting their nests of eggs and to capture the unique beauty of the glades.



Another birder's paradise, I was thrilled to see eagles out in the everglades. If you're in the Orlando area, this is a must see attraction! I loved it.

Goodbye Florida, we had a great time!






 

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