We were warned by some locals about the "boring" drive from Tampa to the Keys (around five hours), but our path took us through the Everglades, which boasted some pretty scenery and lots to take in for a couple Midwesterners. We decided to stop at a random airboat tour stop - they are everywhere down there - and we couldn't have asked for a better time for forty dollars ($20 each).
The coolest part for me was seeing the wild alligators. Guys, gators are pretty cool. I've seen them before, but never in their natural habitat, and never this close! I was surprised how much they looked like small dinosaurs with those little ridges down their backs. Also, their little legs are so cute. (Cute, but able to run and swim quite fast!) I was also impressed by how still they can sit. I thought some of them weren't even real before they slithered away from us into the swamp.
Just a lil' guy. He was SO. CUTE.
This gator is over fifty years old! He likes to hang around the docks mid-swamp.
Now I have to tell you a story. At the end of our tour I noticed a gator sitting over by a house on the river. It had been there before we left, too. I pointed it out to Jasper. The tour guide noticed me pointing and said, "That's Spike. Do you guys want to see Spike?" Well heck yeah we did. We walked over to the side of the river while our guide proceeded to call this gator over like a dog. "Spike, come here, boy! Come here, Spike!" The gator remained motionless for a few seconds before slowly getting up and wading into the water. He swam over, hopped up on the river bank, and opened his mouth. We could hardly believe it, it was a bit crazy. I will definitely never forget that moment, though. The pictures below are of Spike!