Ladies and gents, lose the makeup and ditch the dress attire, because airboating at Wild Willy’s in Central Florida is the perfect opportunity to let loose and get in touch with nature (although I still recommend wearing deodorant/antiperspirant, as you do sit quite close to your neighbor).
Taking a ride on an airboat has been something I have wanted to do since I moved to Central Florida two years ago. However, selecting the “perfect” place to take the tour was very important to me. Not only was I seeking a company that would offer a unique experience, but I was also looking for one that cared about the land and animals it was showcasing. Some airboating companies offer hunting excursions for gators and other animals, and this Bambi scarred child just could not support that. Wild Willy’s was exactly what I was looking for.
A short drive south of Orlando, they are conveniently located in St. Cloud on Lake Tohopekaliga, headwaters of the Everglades. If you purchase your tickets in advance on their website, a one hour tour is $34.25 for an adult and $29.58 for a child between 3-12 years old (prices do not include tax). If you purchase tickets once you arrive, they are $5 more expensive per person.
If you have time to wait before the tour begins, there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied. Wild Willy’s back deck overlooking the lake is the perfect backdrop for picture-taking. You could browse their gift shop or hold Sergio & Cricket, their pet alligators. You can even watch as the staff give them a massage (and I thought my beagle was spoiled…). If you are from Chicago, you can use this opportunity to make Sergio & Cricket Cubs fans (as they obviously wouldn’t be Sox fans).
When your boat is ready, your Captain will come and escort you on board. You will receive a brief safety lesson that includes directions should anything go awry. Basically, if the bottom of the boat suddenly becomes the top, swim. Now that we have the essentials covered, we are ready to push-off! Put your ear muffs on folks, these boats are incredibly loud. Sit back, relax and just enjoy the sights of nature.
Our tour lasted a little longer than an hour, with several stops along the way where our Captain explained different facts about the wildlife and ecosystem. In addition to our learning moments, Captain Dan incorporated his genuine humor and personality into the tour which made it truly a one-of-a-kind experience. I would imagine other airboats have similar learning facts, but finding a guide that can get you to ooo, ahh, gasp and laugh is a rare find. Kudos to Wild Willy’s for creating an outstanding experience overall that my family will remember a lifetime.
13 thoughts on “Hold on Tight! We’re Goin’ Airboating at Wild Willy’s!”
I sooooo want to take an airboat ride. Thanks for the information and photos. I need to check into Wild Willy’s the next time I’m in Florida.
I’m so glad you enjoyed! It’s super fun, I would love to hear your thoughts if/when you go!
Looks like fun!
It was a blast, thanks Maggie. 🙂
Awesome post and something that I am very fond of doing. I am a Florida native from West Palm Beach. the everglades rocks and that last picture is adorable!
Aren’t they so much fun? Anything else as a Florida native you recommend?
Oh, there are so many. Up where I am at in North Florida the largest fresh water springs:Wahcalla s.p.? is wonderful. the one thing that I would not recommed is Disney Land. Very commerical
Once I end up making it to Northern Florida I will have to check it out! The great thing about Florida is that there is soooo much to see and do in all the different areas.
Wonderful! You are so lucky to be there, I miss Florida and have always wanted to ride one of those boats. Great post!!
Next time you’re here you will have to knock it off your “to-do” list! Definitely worthwhile.
The wife and I will be flying to Tampa in December or January, playing in Clearwater and Tarpon Springs areas where I used to live, then driving a van and trailer back to Michigan for my employer. Will wave howdy as we pass the Orlando area!
Honk three times and I’ll know it’s you and wave back. 😉