Florida Everglades Airboating - Captain Jack's Blog

Florida Everglades Airboating

Captain Jack's Blog

1. Turner River Road: Free Thing to Do near Everglades City

Posted by CaptainJacks On January 17th

Turner River Road

Turner River Road is one of the most scenic roads in Everglades City. For 21 miles, Turner River Road cuts directly north through Big Cypress National Preserve. This preserve is a Federally protected land consisting of 729,000 acres of cypress strands, wet prairies, and pinelands.

This is the first of the Top 10 Free Things to Do near Everglades City!

Running alongside the road is the Turner River Road canal. The sand, shell, and rock dredgings of this canal are the materials that initially formed the road. Straight as an arrow, this road is a seemingly endless bed of crushed rock and sand, only a few feet above water level. It extends north of Interstate 75, taking visitor traffic from the Tamiami Trail and diverting it deeper into the Everglades.

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Everglades Tigers: Boris and Daisy

Posted by CaptainJacks On November 26th
Boris the Tiger, Everglades

Boris the tiger struts his stuff

You might not associate tigers with the Everglades, and you’d be right–they’re not native to the Florida grasslands.

But our animal sanctuary is home to Boris and Daisy, two Siberian tigers who have lived there for decades. The next time you stop by the Everglades for an airboat tour, you’ll no doubt want to see some alligators and Florida panthers. You’ll also get to say hello to our two enormous tigers.

Just ask about our animal sanctuary and alligator show when you talk to us, and we’ll make sure your family gets a chance to see lots of animals in the Everglades. Gators and tigers and panthers. Oh my!


Are There Still Raccoons in the Everglades?

Posted by CaptainJacks On October 30th
Everglades Raccoon

Everglades City raccoon says hello

Some sources tell us that sightings of raccoons in the Everglades have declined as much as 99% since 1996.

Why the decrease? A Virginia Tech University study implicates the Burmese python. The National Park Service reports that 1,825 Burmese pythons that have been caught in and around Everglades National Park since 2000. Take a look at this chart to see the increase over the years.

Other mammals, including opossums, white-tailed deer, and bobcats have seen similar declines since the introduction of the Burmese python.

We still have a healthy family of raccoons living in the mangroves of Everglades City. Many of our guests get to say hello to them during their airboat tour.

It just goes to show you that our natural resources in the Everglades are delicate, and should be managed with much care!

Read more about the Burmese python.

The Brown Pelican, a Year-Round Everglades Resident

Posted by CaptainJacks On September 27th

Brown Pelican

Even though adults weigh in at an impressive 8-12 pounds, the Brown Pelican is the smallest of all eight pelican species. It lives year round in Florida, unlike the White Pelican who lives here only during the winter.

Brown Pelicans dive into the water with a giant splash and scoop up fish with their long beaks. Their famously stretchy throat pouches allow them to lift a fish and the water that surrounds it into the air, then dump the water and swallow just the fish.

If alligators don’t eat fledglings, they usually mature in 1-2 months. During that time they’ll eat up to 150 pounds of fish, fed to them by both their parents.

Brown PelicanWonder what they sound like? Listen to the Brown Pelican’s recorded call on the allaboutbirds.org website.

Did you know? Pelicans and their close relatives (boobies, darters, gannets, cormorants, and frigatebirds) are the only birds with webbing between all four toes. This makes them very powerful swimmers. (Even expert swimmers like penguins only have three webbed toes!)

Pelicans are a popular sight on an Everglades City airboat tour. Most of our guests spot one or more of these large birds.

Photos courtesy of Flickr user Mike Baird.

Everglades Ecosystems

We in the Florida Everglades have many different names for what outsiders might refer to as simply “a swamp.” Each ecosystem’s uniqueness starts with the the water and level type of vegetation. Here are several common ones:

  • Pond – Deeper water, less vegetation.
  • Slough (pronounced “slew”) – Free-flowing channels of water, about 3 feet (0.9 meters) deeper than sawgrass marshes.
  • Wet prairie – Similar to a sawgrass marsh, but with more plant diversity.
  • Sawgrass marsh – Very shallow water. This “river of grass” is the most famous Everglades environment.
  • Freshwater swamp – Supports larger trees such as cypress.
  • Hardwood hammock – Elevated above the water and often home to live oak, gumbo limbo, and palms.



Do you know about these three ecosystems of the Everglades? Here’s a quick tour of some Everglades beauty!


The Everglades is also called a river of grass. You can see why!

Photo courtesy of Flickr user cherrylet.

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Birdwatching in the Everglades

Posted by CaptainJacks On July 3rd

Everglades BirdwatchingAre you a birdwatcher? Did you know over 350 species of birds have been spotted in the Everglades? John James Audubon himself commented on how the large number of birds in South Florida would “block out the light from the sun” when they flew overhead.

If you come to the Everglades to see birds, we’ve got a great free resource to share with you. Check out the National Park Service’s free, printable bird checklist. It not only provides a convenient list of every bird species to see, but also indicates their breeding status and your chances of seeing them in each season of the year.

The checklist also explains the six main Everglades bird habitats and points you to the nine best Everglades birdwatching spots. Check it out!

You can also browse the 350 species online. More popular species have photos and profiles.

If you’re planning an airboat tour in the everglades, we also have a list of the most common birds our airboat captains see on their tours.

Happy birdwatching!

Are There Florida Panthers in the Everglades?

Posted by CaptainJacks On June 19th

Florida Panther

There are Florida panthers in the Everglades, but did you know fewer than 100 wild panthers live in all of south Florida today? That number is up from about 20 in the 1970s, but the species is still endangered.

If you’d like to learn more about Florida panthers, these pages are a great start:

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Summer’s Almost Here: It’s Gator Time!

Posted by CaptainJacks On June 7th

AlligatorSummer is almost here, which means it’s the perfect time to see alligators on an Everglades City airboat tour!

While we can’t guarantee which wild animals will show up on a tour, we do know that gators like the heat. We tend to see them more in the summer.

If you’re curious about which wild animals you can see at different times of the year in the Everglades, check out our page about the best time to see wildlife on an airboat tour.

Happy Summer Vacation!

Everglades Airboat Tours on TripAdvisor

Posted by CaptainJacks On May 22nd

tripadvisor-logoTripAdvisor is becoming more and more important when it comes time to plan a vacation. We use it ourselves to check out hotels and activities when we travel. We just wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who have posted feedback about Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours on TripAdvisor. We read all of your feedback and take it very seriously.

Almost all of our feedback is positive. We always love to hear that people had a great vacation in the Everglades. It puts a big smile on all our faces!

Some feedback lets us know what we can still improve. While we can’t control Mother Nature, we can control the service that we provide.

So, thank you for giving us your honest opinions! We’re already making improvements based on your suggestions.

See you on TripAdvisor!