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Ft. Lauderdale Day Trips with Gators and Flamingos

Flamingo Gardens

I was completely unplugged during my Thanksgiving cruise through the eastern Caribbean, I didn't even take that many photos. Considering most of our time was spent on the beach and not exploring the ports, I didn't bring my camera on most days. We returned to port in Ft. Lauderdale at 7 a.m. but didn't have a flight home until 5 in the evening so we decided to find something to do to kill the hours. There are lots of day trips in and around Ft. Lauderdale, we chose to focus on some animals – gators and flamingoes!

In the morning we went to Everglades Holiday Park where we took an airboat out on the everglades to look for alligators. We only saw one which my dad and husband joked was fake, but I wasn't putting my hand in the water to find out!

Gator in Everglades Holiday Park

Another highlight of the park is catching the Gator Boys show. I am not sure how popular this show was prior to their show on Animal Planet, but they certainly are big now. And while one of the main stars, Paul Bedard, was around, Chris Murray was the one who was tasked to perform for the crowd the day we went.

Gator Boys Chris Murray

I just wonder if he wore those glasses before the show became famous? Besides the show, there is a cute gift shop and a little cafe where you can try your own taste of alligator meat (sorry guys!). I got some gator nuggets which were darn tasty, but after that, I couldn't really look them in the eye!

Our next stop was the Flamingo Gardens Botanical Collection & Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary in Davie which is thirty minutes down the road from Ft. Lauderdale. I think it is a relatively unknown spot (which is not a bad thing). The park was not too crowded and parking was free (unheard of!). We only had time to spend an hour, but it did give Mr. Misadventures and I an indication that we would definitely want to return. We have been to Ft. Lauderdale three times in the past four years so returning is not out of the question.

I definitely recommend this spot. The park is on 60 acres of land and there is plenty to see including animals, birds and beautiful gardens. We took a tram tour around the property (you can walk too) and spotted a whole bunch of turtles.

Turtles in Flamingo Gardens

And lots of beautiful birds. I like this photo because the water looks a bit Monet-ish.

Flamingo Garden Birds

Of course, a highlight of the park is the flamingos. They are so easy to get great photos of, their colors are spectacular!

Flamingo Garden Flamingos

As we exited the park to head to the airport, we spotted this guy as well.

Flamingo Garden Peacock

This is a park full of things to discover and I would consider it a hidden treasure, one that I plan to explore more of in the future!

Check out this AFAR Wanderlist for other fun things to do in Florida.

How about you? Have you visited these spots in the Everglades? Do share!

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  1. Wow, my sister lives in Fort Lauderdale and I’ve never heard of that wildlife sanctuary! I’m definitely making her take me there next time I visit. The part of the Everglades she’s usually taken me to is Shark Alley, which is basically an area where you can park and walk around some paths – not much else. That said, the variety of birds are way cool, and the gators rarely fail to make a showing. The first time I went, we probably saw 15 or so, and they were just RIGHT there next to the path. Crazy! Looks like you had a fantastic time! Now I’m itching to go visit my sister….

    1. @Katie, wow looks like I need to check out Shark Alley. Flamingo Gardens was a really fun spot, you should definitely check it out.

    1. @AndiP, they never take a bad photo!

  2. We are so pleased that you had such a good time while you were here and we welcome you back the next time you are in the area. Please share since we are such a small non-profit, we don’t have a big ad budget.

    1. @Claudia, my pleasure, it is a wonderful park!

  3. Camels & Chocolate says:

    I have this weird fascination with alligators, as in I want to see one out in the wild every time I’m in Florida. It’s pretty much my opposite reaction to sharks =)

    1. @Kristin, my number one fear in life is sharks.

  4. Michelle Proper says:

    I will have to check this out wneh I go down this winter! Thanks for the info!

  5. Leona Olson says:

    The airboat must have been a fun ride.

  6. Lisa Williams says:

    It’s so easy to forget that Florida has OTHER great places to explore and visit! Thanks for the reminder!

  7. The flamingos & peacock are beautiful!! I must write this place down & eventually take my boys there on a trip. They love animals!

  8. Gorgeous photos. Those flamingos really pop.

  9. Darlene Demell says:

    The flamingos are such a gorgeous color. I have never seen one in person but would love to. The peacock is beautiful too. The alligators, well, I think I will pass on those. I am not too fond of water and the things under it so they would not be on my list to go and see. It looks like a beautiful place to visit though.

  10. Ellen casper says:

    We visited there many times when we lived in Boca Raton for six years. You forget you are in S. Florida when you’re th there 🙂

  11. Theresa M says:

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures. The flamingos are out of this world colorful and so is the peacock. That is the colors of my daughter’s wedding coming up this Saturday. She’s going with the peacock colors. Anyway you didn’t say if you liked the cruise? My husband always says he is going to take me on one of these days. Glad you had no mishaps with the gaters and happy travels to you and yours.

  12. carla bonesteel says:

    Gator Boys!!! My favorite…I love what they do, and what they stand for. All animals should be respected and preserved, and they help the ones that most people are scared of! Great post!

  13. Mary Dailey says:

    I’ve only been to Florida once. I would love to see this so much!

  14. Living in Florida, I visit the Everglades all the time! But gators freak me out! :/

  15. Victoria Cortinas says:

    I love visiting my family in Homestead. We always go on an airboat ride in the Everglades. My youngest brother loves spotting alligators.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Victoria, lots of fun things to do in Florida, this was my first airboat ride and I had a blast!

  16. The Wildlife Sanctuary looks amazing! I haven’t been to Florida in years, but I do remember going to Gatorland. (Haha!) Also, we would always take a boat ride on the St. John’s river – I remember seeing manatees all the time! So incredible. I love nature.

  17. Elizabeth Gentry says:

    This reminds me of my trip to the everglades. I had so much fun. The guys at the park were friends of my stepdad’s so they let us in free and gave us a more personalized tour. It was the best day ever.

  18. Theresa M says:

    Those flamingos are really beautiful! Wow great picture.

  19. Lisa Williams says:

    I will have to put this on our “must visit list”! We are not terribly far from Florida and do end up in or near from time to time. Our son would love walking through this park! Heck, me and the Mr would like it too!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Lisa, I highly recommend it!

  20. Sylvia Zajis says:

    It looks like you had a great time. I hope to one day be able to afford to take my kids somewhere like this. I love all the creatures of nature that you just don’t see on an everyday basis.

  21. Amanda Sakovitz says:

    so beautiful! I love all of the different animals you took pictures of

  22. looks like fun! I am really loving your blog and all your great posts

  23. Went the Zoo last week and reading this makes me want to post all my pics online too

  24. Laura Lanza says:

    I love warm weather so this is right up my alley.

  25. rebeccabasset says:

    I have never been to Florida, but I would love to visit.

    Thanks for the Post, and the beautiful Picture’s!

  26. I lived in Orlando for years but never really explored further than Cocoa Beach.