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Moving Experiences - Off Road Adventures



Florida’s low-lying swampy terrain has given rise to a type of tourist ride not found in too many other places. Sometimes called “swamp buggies” or “monster trucks,” the vehicles are custom designed all-terrain vehicles that have been created by combining an old bus chassis with huge tractor or other massive tires that can bull their way through shallow muddy swamp water. They give you a chance to see wildlife in a natural setting that Nature did not design for casual strolling.

One such ride is offered at Forever Florida, described in Chapter 14: Gardens and Edens. There are others closer to the Orlando action.

Boggy Creek Wildlife Safari
2001 East Southport Road, Kissimmee 34746
(407) 344-9550
www.bcairboats.com

Cost: Adults $21.95, children (3 to 12) $15.95, under 2 free
Hours: Daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Location: On the north shore of West Lake Tohopekaliga, about 20 miles from US 192 on Poinciana Boulevard (which becomes Southport Road).

The folks who operate Boggy Creek Airboat Rides have a land-based alternative for those who’d like yet another way to catch a glimpse of what locals like to call “the Real Florida.” Your ride vehicle is an old school bus, with the sides cut off and a sheltering canopy mounted on top. It all sits atop huge, cartoony tires and it takes you on a bumpy ride through a chunk of an 8,000-acre working cattle ranch that dates back to the earliest days of ranching in Florida. There are animals to be seen here that you usually miss on the airboat tours, including wild hogs, deer, raccoons, and other small mammals. Best of all are the bald eagles and ospreys that nest in the area. The guides are all drawn from local families, so they know the territory, the history, and the folklore of the region. If you’re lucky, you might get to see a cattle roundup in progress, as this is still very much a working ranch.

 

Showcase of Citrus Eco Tours
5010 Highway 27, Clermont 34711
(352) 267-2597
www.showcaseofcitrus.com/ecotour.asp

Cost: Adults $20, children (4 to 12) $10, $80 minimum per trip
Hours: By appointment
Location: Take US 192 or I-4 west to US 27, then drive north; Showcase of Citrus is on your right.

The main business of Showcase of Citrus is selling oranges and other citrus products, but as a sideline they operate one-hour “eco tours” through the groves and surrounding woods and marshes. The palmetto, oak, and pine scrub habitats here offer shelter to a variety of wildlife and the swamps feature the ever-present alligators.

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