If your like me you’re a lover of all things mother nature, especially wildlife but you’ve yet to see alligators in Florida’s Blue Springs, then you’re missing out big time!

Alligators in Florida are like sharks in Australia. You’ll hear about them, see merchandise galore and there will be signs everywhere you look warning you about them, maybe you’ve even seen one from a distance…. BUT until you have actually seen them in the wild and up close and personal (not too personal) you haven’t seen anything!

Blue Springs Florida

WHERE TO SEE THEM

There are a few ways to see Alligators in the wild. A popular tourist attraction are air boat rides. These high powered boats shoot across Florida’s Everglades like a bullet. It’s a great thrill ride and an experience you’ll thoroughly enjoy however I have never personally seen much on those tours. Maybe the wildlife is scared off by the sheer volume of the boats. They are bloomin’ loud!

Air boat

Photo Credit: Eric Baker

When I was last in Florida with my family, we were staying in Kissimmee, Orlando. We decided to take a break from the chaos of Disney and Universal to try and see the Manatee’s in Blue Springs. Manatee’s often migrate in large numbers to Blue Springs to bask in the warm waters and we found a brochure for a company called St Johns River Cruises.

Next morning we were up early and out of our villa, in the car and off on the road to Blue Springs. On arrival we were greeted by the lovely Winkie (co owner with husband, Ron) who informed us that unfortunately we had come during the wrong season (March/April). Manatees tend to be down near the coast at this time. There wasn’t a single manatee in sight.

Never threat! Winkie assured us that the cruise still ran twice daily and there was plenty more to see. Boy, she wasn’t wrong.

Not only the manatees but tortoises, alligators, osprey and bald eagles all gather in this part of Florida.

Blue Springs Florida

ST JOHNS RIVER CRUISES, FLORIDA

The river cruises run twice daily at 10am and 1pm (in the high season you can also catch a 3:30pm cruise).

Prices are: $22 for adults, $20 for seniors (60+) and $16 for children (6-11 years). Infants go free.

There are daily updates on migration times and temperatures etc on their website: www.sjrivercruises.com

St Johns River Crusies
THE TOUR

The girls who worked on our tour were great. There was just the two of them but my word did they know their stuff. This was a two hour cruise around the springs. Meandering through the narrow passes and along side the growth, we were being directed to everything going on. We saw all sorts but most impressive of all was the number of alligators we didn’t just see but were in arms reach of. They were everywhere. Enormous ones basking in the midday sun up on the banks, baby ones hanging from low hanging tree’s and others all around you in the reeds and waters. Our guides were referring to each alligator by name and by the end of the tour, we were too.

Alligator Florida

St Johns River Cruises

Not only alligators but bald eagles (two of them) flew over head back to their giant nests and tortoises were here there and everywhere. If you’re a bird watching enthusiast then this would be a mecca!

If you decide to make a visit to Blue Springs I would thoroughly recommend St Johns River Cruises. The staff are great, the price is modest for the amount you see and the quality of the tour. Plus, if you time your visit right and get to see both alligators and manatee’s you’ll have an even better time than I did ….. and I loved it!