You would think that after countless flights in and out of Miami flying right over the Everglades, I would have made the connection that I was missing out on some serious fun in my own backyard.
Naturally, growing up in Florida I’ve see my fair share of alligators, gone on airboat rides and seen the swamps up close. But as I drove closer to Shark Valley and started seeing signs advertising the different experiences local tribes offer to tourists, I couldn’t believe I had never taken the time to experience the true heritage and culture of the first South Floridians. Those experiences, however, would be saved for another days worth of adventures, because today I was trying to beat the Florida rain and go on a bike ride in search of some of the world’s oldest inhabitants. That’s right, Alligators.
Soon after arriving, I traded in my Ford Fusion for a new set of temporary wheels. I went for the classic human powered, two-wheel, neon yellow model complete with basket. Armed with a gallon of water and sunscreen, I was ready to make the 15 mile-trip to the tower and see more gators than my heart could handle. Unfortunately, the weather had a different plan. Check out the video to see how many gators I spotted on my journey!
So my words of wisdom are: go early! Or take the 2 hour tram ride instead so that you are covered if any rain comes or you can make a quick getaway if the Rangers decide the weather is too dangerous. I also saw some brave souls walking the trail – they were all walking back towards the entrance so it leads me to believe some people take the tram out to the tower then walk back at their leisure. Tag me on Instagram (#fordistasGPS) if you head to Shark Valley!
Where: Click here.
Cost: $10 per car entrance fee + $12.75 – $23 for the tram ride OR $9/hr for bike rentals
Good for: All ages
Great for: getting some exercise!
Noteworthy: make a day of the trip by stopping at a local Native American owned restaurant on the way out and then cap it all off with a sunset airboat ride!
WORDS BY Mel Ziegler