Aside from Disney and all the other theme parks, there’s an entire natural world to be explored in Florida.
1. See the Manatees
Starting around mid November, Manatees will find there way to Blue Springs State Park to hang out through the winter. Although you are able to get very close to these gentle giants; swimming, snorkeling or diving are restricted while the manatees are present. While visiting the park we witnessed around 10 or more manatees wading in the hot springs. The park entrance fee was only $3. It was a really great experience to observe manatees and many other animals in their natural environment.
2. Hold an Alligator
We spent an afternoon seeing the Wildlife Exhibit at Black Hammock Adventures. Other than alligators of all sizes, there were other animals, including parrots and snakes. For a small price you can feed the small alligators and for $5 you can hold one for a photo. Our timing was just right, while we were there we got to watch the keepers feed the huge gators. I was a little nervous for them, but I’m sure they’ve done it a million times.
3. Ride an Airboat
The Black Hammock airboat ride goes around Lake Jesup and also to Bird Island. We had high hopes for seeing some all natural gators while out on the lake, considering that it has been known to host the largest alligator population in Florida. What we did see were all different species birds and a few cows grazing in the swamp land. Overall the air-boat ride was fantastic! Our captain, who (like us) was also originally from Michigan and he was a total riot. He was funny, did tricks and had us on the edge of our seats the entire ride!
4. Touch a Jelly Fish
We planned a day at Daytona Beach but the weather turned a little gloomy just before our arrival. Oh well, that’s how it goes. We still went anyway. To our surprise the beach was scattered with jelly fish! It was my first time seeing them so close – without fear of being stung!
5. Walk on Red Sand
Daytona Beach was marbled with red, brown and white sand. It was pretty phenomenal to see the patterns the waves create in the sand. After this experience I was inspired and later discovered there are beaches of almost every color imaginable all throughout the world. I have made it a personal goal to see every color! This would be an excellent place to see your first colored sand beach.