Disney World has long been recognized for its animated Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and Sea World its legendary killer whale Shamu, but while theme park animals have long been a part of Orlando’s identity, few travelers may be aware that encounters with wild animals are also a popular option on your Orlando vacation. If you want authentic face to face time with some of Florida’s real live creatures, the Orlando area has plenty of opportunities to satisfy your wishes. From gentle manatees, to playful dolphins and mysterious alligators, Florida’s waters will bring you up close and personal to some of nature’s most intriguing wild creatures.
Few animals are as compelling as the docile Florida Manatee. Your family will love the chance to interact with these alluring denizens of Florida’s waters, on a swim where the manatees live. This unique opportunity begins in Homosassa State Park, where a boat ride up the Crystal River will deliver you to the underwater home of the endangered manatees. From there you will don snorkel gear and jump into the water to share the underwater world with the manatees as they glide gracefully through the water. This interactive experience is sure to be a highlight of your Orlando vacation.
Another animal that captures our hearts is the dolphin. For an intimate visit with wild dolphins, the Dolphin Encounter Tour takes you into the Gulf of Mexico for close encounters of the underwater kind. Watch dolphins swim and surface in their natural environment as you enjoy these gorgeous creatures in the open waters of the Gulf. You are sure to enjoy these curious and intelligent marine mammals while exploring their ocean home.
Finally, for a more sinister wildlife encounter, try the one hour Night Airboat Tour in alligator populated swamplands. Glide through the night on a boat with a lighted miner’s hat guiding the way as you peer into the shadows for the telltale glowing eyes of American alligators in their native habitat. Listen for the ominous bellowing of bull alligators and watch for these reptilian giants as they cruise about in the swampy waters. Sorry, no swimming on this encounter, but you can enjoy viewing the menacing looking gators and other nocturnal wildlife from the airboat on this mysterious foray into the dark swamp.
From the waters of a moonlit swamp to the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, you can encounter Florida’s wild animals on three tours designed with the nature lover in mind. Away from the crowds that throng to Orlando’s theme parks, you can find a slice of nature in every direction as you enjoy wildlife encounter tours in the Orlando area. Make your reservations and come have a wild time in Orlando, Florida!