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The Florida Everglades – Kent French

The Florida Everglades

by: Kent French

Last November I found myself with 2 days off in Fort Lauderdale and while the sun, sand, and a
cold beverage always resonate with me, I felt the need to get out of my comfort zone.

After doing some research in the area, I came across the Everglades Holiday Park and there was
no doubt this was the place I needed to visit. I’m going to date myself for a minute, but back in
the day, I used to watch Gentle Ben (from the late 1960s) starring Dennis Weaver, Ron
Howard’s brother Clint and of course Ben the bear. They used to travel around the Florida
Everglades on an airboat looking for adventure, so that’s what I was going to do!!

I enlisted the help of my co-worker Edgar and we headed out to the Everglades not sure what we
were getting ourselves into.

"With his expert eyes, Mike pointed out several alligators and even gave us a lesson on how to survive in the Everglades which I hope I will never need!"

Once we arrived, the air was filled with the sound of the constant buzz coming from the giant
propellers coming from the dock…the airboats!

After checking in, we were introduced to Captain Mike who was to be our personal tour guide
for the afternoon. Mike was everything you thought an Everglades boat captain should be,
sunglasses, ballcap, tanned skin, big personality and a knowledge of the Everglades inside and
out.

Once we were aboard his airboat, he had me sit up next to him and Edgar decided to sit down in
the back and it wasn’t a bad decision. Once we put our earplugs in and navigated out of the dock
and away from the other boats, Captain Mike hit the gas and I felt like I was going to blow right
off the boat!! We were flying through the Everglades, over all of the plant life, and were on our
way in search of…alligators!

With his expert eyes, Mike pointed out several alligators and even gave us a lesson on how to
survive in the Everglades which I hope I will never need!

When we arrived back at the dock, I was informed there was more to see and hold?!

We were escorted to the back of the welcome center where we were introduced to Coco the
Python and Spike the Croc! To this moment, not sure what I was thinking!

A big thank you to Mike and everyone at Everglades Holiday Park for an experience I will never
forget!

Until next time.

KF