[dropcap]M[/dropcap]y husband and I ventured to Lake Jessup on a whim. Needing something to do on our last day of vacation, we were in the mood for adventure.
Groupon had plenty of adventure: airboat rides, scenic tours, dolphin swims, etc. But everthing required advanced registration.
After a quick Google search, I came across Black Hammock Adventures. When I saw that they have daily airboat rides departing every 30 minutes, I was sold!
The place itself if situated on Lake Jessup, right off 417. So it’s very easy to get to. There is a short back road to get to it, but that is normal for any place on the water really.
The parking lot has loads of parking. We actually parked right by the entrance, not realizing we could go further in and closer to the venue.
The airboat road is 30 minutes long and costs about $27 per person. Which comparing to other places, is a bit lower. We paid for the two of us and lingered around the grounds while waiting.
There is a Parrot Jungle featuring 3 friendly little guys.
I paid $1 for a bag of peanuts and hand fed them. You are supposed to put them in the PVC pipe chute to be safe, but they were very gentle for me and no one was around 😉 They also talk. One of them said “thank you” another said “that’s enough!” And my favorite little blue one kept saying “hello” and laughing.
There’s also a large gator pen with a big alligator you can feed chicken legs to for $2. We passed on that one.
A smaller pen with three to four foot long gators enticed us to buy the $3.50 frozen hot dog. We literally fished for gators. You take a bit of hot dog, string it through the line and swing it over the fence baiting them to take a bite.
There are also a few smaller cages of parrots, parakeets, cockateils, and aquariums of foot long alligators. There are several al a carte options if you want to take a photo holding a parrot or gator.
We waited at a cabana style picnic table for our tour to arrive. The captain was a few minutes late, but we were in no rush. The atmosphere is so relaxing and chill, we couldn’t help but to take it easy.
When the boat arrived, we realized we were the only ones going for a ride. Yep, that’s right. We got a private tour! The captain took us out in the marshes and even across the lake itself, taking his time. We got an extra 15 minutes or so on board.
They provide you with ear protection as well. This was our first airboat ride, so we weren’t sure what to expect. We were thrilled! Obviously.
Peak season is April through May, so we knew we wouldn’t see many if any alligators lounging about, but we did spot three in the wild. All different sizes too. I’m no wildlife photographer. Just trust me, they’re there! Ha ha ha…
The tour was serene and beautiful. Could not have asked for better weather. My favorite moments were when the boat parted the marsh grasses, sending dragon flies and water fowl darting every which way. Such a neat experience!
The staff at Black Hammock Adventures are fantastic too. We felt like we were at our neighbor’s house. Very welcoming and warm people.
After our tour, we walked right over to the bar and restaurant on site and tried our first gator. They serve gator bites four ways for $30. I kid you not, it was delicious. Like meatier chicken nuggets mixed with fried clam strips. So good!
If you are looking for something off the beaten path to do while in the Orlando or Sanford area, head up to Black Hammock. Prepare to spend a few hours, longer if you stay for a live concert or entertainment. It’s the kind of hole in the wall place that is comfortable and relaxing. It will keep the vacation “feels” alive.
Here’s a video of the fun 🙂