What is the best Central Florida ecotourist spot?

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Answered by: Candice, An Expert in the Local Attractions Category
Ecotourism is all the rage right now. There are road-side stands popping up all over with a simple map of the local area and all of the cool-right-now ecotourist locations. Visiting Central Florida can be an amazing vacation but after you hit all of theme parks, the concrete jungles get a little old. You’re looking for something to do that has a little taste of the local culture. If you’re tired of Mickey Mouse (no offense, Mickey) and tired of waiting in all of the long lines that you have to endure, I have the perfect option. With a little bit of everything to offer, Wild Florida is the best Central Florida ecotourist spot.



Located just outside of Orlando, very few people know that the headwaters to the Everglades start right there. On the shores of Lake Cypress, you won’t see any development, houses, cell phone towers, bridges, etc. Their slogan is “The middle of nowhere has been discovered” and they were not lying! It feels like an eternity to get there from Orlando but it is well worth the 30-45 minute drive, I assure you. They have so many options for educating and enjoying a fun, family day of adventure.

First up is the airboat tour. The highly experienced airboat captain takes you on an hour tour of the swamps, rivers and marshland. If an hour sounds too long, don’t fret! They also offer a 30 minute tour. My first choice will always be the one hour private tour. You are put on a smaller boat with just your family and the captain. You have the opportunity to see alligators, deer, hogs, and so many different species of birds, including bald eagles!



Next stop is the the Chomphouse Grill. They serve everything from pulled pork sandwiches to alligator bites (yep, that’s real alligator). The food is delicious and not too pricey like the theme parks. You can always ask for the chef’s special as it changes everyday and from what I hear, has never been a bad bet. Make sure you get a Swamp Slushy before you leave. They are amazing and taste a little like a dreamsicle.

The Gator and Wildlife Park is more than I could ever have imagined. They have a mystical and somewhat creepy Swamp Walk where the further you venture in, the more you feel like you’re in a creepy movie. It’s covered by cypress trees and always shaded which is a nice break from the hot Florida climate. The animals that you will encounter are critters that you would never think of. From alligators to zebras, they have a little bit of everything. Want to hang out with and feed a sloth? No problem! They have animal encounters that will accommodate all of your inner animal lover needs. Make sure you make a reservation for those ahead of time as they are in high demand. You don’t want to miss the alligator feeding show, either.

Make sure you stop by the gift shop on your way out. The two-room building has books, t-shirts, alligator heads (not kidding), toys, jewelry. When you arrive, the gift shop is where you will check in but I recommend not purchasing any merchandise until your day has come to an end. Bottom line, make sure you check out Wild Florida when you’re looking for the perfect Central Florida ecotourist spot. I promise you will not regret it!

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