The Everglades, Florida: Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tour

Kategorie: Sights / Facts

As of June 2011

We took the chance to experience the service and the adventure of Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tour – who are the experts in this business since 1953.

It was very easy to find this venture as we just had to follow Tamiami Trail and look out for the ultra large American Flag on the side of the road.

This is how Wooten´s advertise their business on the website, which sounded quite fair:

The Only Total Everglades Adventure! — Swamp Buggy Rides | Airboat Tours —

Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tour is who you want to see for the best tours of the Everglades and swamps of south Florida. We offer airboat tours of the glades and swamp buggy rides through the marshes that allow you the opportunity to see the exotic plant and wildlife in its natural habitat. Our company is the only one around who can tour both the Everglades and the Cypress Swamp, and we also give the biggest Everglades tour in the area!

Everglade Tours—Since 1953
Our tours through the Everglades are something you and your family will remember forever. The airboat Everglades tour travels through the mangroves and marshlands, approximately 40-45 minutes, and is for 6–18 people at a time.

Swamp Buggy Rides
We also offer awesome swamp tours on our swamp buggy. These tours can carry up to 25 people and show exotic foliage and different plant life and run for approximately 40-45 minutes.

Animal Sanctuary
One of the most memorable parts of our Everglades and swamp tours are the exotic animals you see in their natural habitat. These animals include: Bobcats, Snakes, Turtles, Deer, North American Crocodiles, Alligators, Panthers

 

Firstly we walked around the so called Animal Sanctuary and hoped we would find the animals in a better condition than at Sawgrass Recreational Park. Well, at first sight it really seemed like that. Cages were a bit larger and a bit cleaner, but still … when I saw the big tigers and panthers and all the other large animals … they just seemed to eke out a miserable existence. Although to many visitors it might be absolutely great to come close with a tiger or a panther or such, but these are still creatures like us and need to be taken care of correctly. I would rather never in my life see a tiger or a panther again than see him under those conditions … Anyway, I did not like this at all.

After this we took the chance to join the Swamp Buggy Ride, which was a lot of fun, although the mosquitoes seemed to just love me … The tour guide was of high knowledge and pointed out every sight, every tree and anything else which was of interest to his guests. Perfect! I did enjoy the tour.

The airboat ride was awesome. Although most of the time this guy really took care of speed and fun, he still found moments to stop the boat here and there, talk about the Everglades and point out some of their natural inhabitants. It was an exhilarating tour. Thank you!

 

Ft. Lauderdale: Carrie B Cruise

Kategorie: Sights / Facts

As of June 2011

Finding the Carrie B is not that easy, but in case you already know how to get to The Cheesecake Factory, Ft. Lauderdale, you are almost there. Try and find a parking spot and walk over to Las Olas Blvd. and S.E. 5th Avenue. From the corner you might already be able to spot the Carrie B. If you did not purchase your tickets in advance you can buy them there. And don’t worry, if you only find a guy with a stand: This is the person to talk to and he either takes cash or you can pay with a credit card. And soon you will be boarding the Carrie B.

“When you´re aboard the Carrie B your comfort is always our first priority! Our shipshape tour boat, a charming replica of a nineteenth century paddle-wheeler, features a climate controlled lower deck, enclosed picture windows, as well as an open-air upper deck where you may stroll about with your favorite beverage or snack, We offer comfortable seating and clean restrooms.” (by Carrie B)

I was a bit concerned about getting sea sick, but no worries, the brochure explains: “For you *landlubbers* out there, we always cruise in smooth waters and are regularly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard, so sit back, relax, and leave everything to our friendly crew as we show you Fort Lauderdale´s most beautiful asset – its breathtakingly gorgeous waterways!”

And you can really enjoy the cruise. And the comments of the captain. And the sights. All those beautiful mansions and homes. This is the cruise to really relax, unwind and enjoy the awesome scenery.

It took about 90 minutes. I could have done another 90 minutes straight after that.

Carrie B. Cruise, Ft. Lauderdale: Highly recommended!

For further details: http://www.carriebcruises.com/

 

Ft. Lauderdale: Sawgrass Recreation Park

Kategorie: Sights / Facts

As of June 2011

Once you are in Florida and near the Everglades taking an airboat ride is a must. Sawgrass Recreation Park had been recommended.

Their brochure gives *General Information: Feel the excitement and learn the history of Florida´s most remarkable treasure, the Everglades. Our family owned and operated business offers unparalleled customer service. Our uncovered airboats ensure you a complete panoramic view. Renew your spirit as you slide across miles of river at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. Get up close and personal with native wildlife, many of whom are endangered in this fragile environment. This once in a lifetime adventure will create lasting memories as you discover the secrets of this untamed wilderness the Seminole Indians called home.*

So far this was exactly what the show was about. The airboat had a capacity for about 30 to 40 passengers. Everybody was provided with earplugs and after a short briefing off we went. Smooth and slow. Then we picked up speed and slid across the water and in and across the grass. We glimpsed a multitude of herons and some alligators. It was just beautiful. What an amazing nature! Our tour guide was great and able to point out the animals and talk about the wildlife.

“Let your spirit soar as you view nature at its finest.” That is what I did.

After a 30-minute ride we returned and went off to the exhibit area. The brochure highly recommends this. It speaks of *friendly turtles* and *playful critters* and invites guests to also visit the SwampYard Exhibit.

But the entire exhibit shook me to the core as most of the animals were in cages much too small for their size. Those *playful critters* seemed to be too apathetically to even look at their visitors. Some cages were dirty and smelled. This was so sad and I doubt that keeping animals like that is according to the respective law.

My recommendation:

Airboat ride: YES
Animal Exhibit: Definitely NO and NEVER again.

 

Ft. Lauderdale: Butterfly World

Kategorie: Sights / Facts

As of June 2011

If you really want to spend a very special day in Ft. Lauderdale take your time and head out to Butterfly World, the magic place of those wonderful and extraordinary creatures.

The Story of Butterfly World

“It could be said that Butterfly World is the result of one man´s hobby gone wild. In fact, that is exactly the way Ronald Boender, founder and managing partner, describes it daily as he presides over the ten acres of aviaries and botanical gardens, the butterfly farm and research facility that make up the attraction.

Born of Dutch immigrants, he grew up in Illinois and has always had a fascination with butterflies, beginning with the cabbage whites, black swallowtails and silk moths he found while growing up on his father´s farm.

Boender moved to Florida in 1968, and after completing a successful career as an electrical engineer, decided to actively pursue his interest in butterflies. He began by raising local butterflies and butterfly food plants in small numbers at his home, carefully observing and recording data on the many behaviors of each species.

Finding that there was a real need for farmed butterflies for sale to universities and zoos, Boender established MetaScience Co. in 1984. Having only a laboratory and a single aviary, the staff at MetaScience produced up to 1000 pupa per week, and established methods of butterfly rearing that are still in use at Butterfly World.

[…] Boender´s dream was finally realized on March 28, 1988, when Butterfly World opened its doors for the first time. In the years that have followed, the park has expanded to include the country´s largest free-flight hummingbird aviary, a lorikeet encounter, and along with them, a skilled aviculture care and research staff to support these endeavors.” (By Butterfly World)

Once you enter the Butterfly World you will receive a flyer with useful information and details how to perfectly enjoy the grounds in front of you:

“Welcome to spectacular Butterfly World, where you can spend a day in paradise!

Paradise … there´s no better way to describe exotic Butterfly World, a tropical getaway where the scent of fragrant tropical flowers and the fluttering of live butterflies offer a feast for the senses. This unique attraction provides guests with an opportunity to walk among thousands of butterflies in their natural habitat, witness their life cycle firsthand and bask in the beauty of lush gardens.

Six giant screened aviaries serve as a sanctuary for thousands of butterflies from five continents. Each contains waterfalls, ponds brimming with colorful fish, a flowering basket walk, cases of pupae with newly emerging butterflies and delicate orchids. To make your visit more enjoyable, you will find tour guides in the gardens to help you with information and any questions that you might have.

Inside the Paradise Adventure Aviary, butterflies from all around the world fly, feed and bask in the sun. But the adventure really begins in the Laboratory, where butterfly eggs and larva can be observed in different stages of growth.

The Jewels of the Sky Hummingbird Aviary is the home to hummingbirds from Peru, Surinam and the United States. Access to hummingbird Aviary means crossing the Tinalandia Suspension Bridge, a replica of a bridge spanning the Toachi River in Western Ecuador. This cable-strung bridge is about 100 feet long and undulates as guests cross it.

Enter a world of fantasy in the Secret Garden, a maze-like structure housing one of the largest collections of flowering passion vines in the world as well as the Wings of the World Aviary. The nearby Garden Gazebo offers the relaxing sounds of classical music and water as it cascades over a bridal fountain.

Explore your way through the Live Bug Zoo and chat away with the Macaws at Macaw Landing. Meet the friendly clowns of the bird world in the Lorikeet Encounter, visit the Butterfly Gardening Plant Shop, enjoy a snack at the Butterfly Café and browse through the Caterpillar Canopy Gift Shop.” (By Butterfly World)

It is so easy to spend hours and hours at Butterfly World as you gaze at those little creatures fluttering before you. Like diamonds in the sky. And those tiny hummingbirds. All the other colorful birds. This is just so amazing. Photographs can not the least reveal what you are about to encounter. Be prepared for the multitude of wonders that Mother Nature is about to present to you.

*… What a wonderful world this can be …*

Please visit: http://www.butterflyworld.com

 

Bali: Reiseinformationen

Kategorie: Sights / Facts

Stand: Januar 2008

Flugverbindungen: Es gibt sicherlich viele Wege, nach Bali zu gelangen. Hat man sich allerdings den Norden als Reiseziel ausgesucht, sollte man darauf achten, eine Flugverbindung zu wählen, die im Laufe des frühen Nachmittages in Denpasar eintrifft. Denn es dauert ca. drei Stunden Fahrtzeit über ganz normale bzw. recht schmale Straßen, bis man letztendlich an seinem Ziel ankommen wird. So kann man die lange Fahrt schon als erste Sightseeing Tour nutzen. Aus demselben Grund sollte man für den Rückflug eine Verbindung am späten Nachmittag wählen, sofern man aus dem Norden zurückkehrt.

Sehr gute Flugverbindungen und Komfort bietet Thai Airways.

Einreisegebühr: Die Einreisegebühr in Höhe von z.Zt. 25 USD ist in makellosen und ungefalteten Scheinen zu entrichten. Diesen Hinweis sollte man wirklich strikt beachten. Ich konnte beobachten, wie ein Reisender Schwierigkeiten hatte, gerade aus diesem Grund die erste Einreisehürde zu schaffen.

Geldwechsel: Bei Ankunft am Flughafen von Denpasar kann man seine Devisen wechseln. Noch im Ankunftsbereich reihen sich kleine Wechselbuden aneinander und buhlen um die Gunst der Kundschaft. Wenn man hier seine Devise tauschen möchte, sollte man sich vorher schon über die Wechselkurse informiert haben, da man sonst vom unübersichtlichen Angebot erschlagen wird.

Allerdings kann man auch in einigen Hotels zu recht fairen Konditionen seine Devisen tauschen.

Mücken: Ignorieren Sie sie einfach. Das beste Mückenspray hilft nichts. Auch nicht die traditionellen Hinweise, bei Einbruch der Dunkelheit lange Hosen und langärmelige Kleidung zu tragen. Es hilft nicht. Die kleinen Monster stechen durch alles hindurch, um an Ihr Blut zu gelangen. Relaxen Sie, lassen Sie es geschehen und behandeln Sie anschließend die Stellen mit einer Mückensalbe. Ich habe Fenistil-Gel benutzt. Es hilft sofort gegen den Juckreiz und am nächsten Tag erinnerte nur noch ein kleiner roter Fleck an die Attacke der kleinen Vampire. Zum Zeitpunkt meines Aufenthaltes war keine Malariaprophylaxe erforderlich. Bitte kontaktieren Sie das jeweilige Tropeninstitut für weitere Informationen.

Regenzeit: Mein Aufenthalt fiel in die Regenzeit. Und ich habe sie genossen. Die Bäume und Sträucher blühten und strahlten in allen möglichen und unmöglichen frischgewaschenen Grüntönen. Hin und wieder kam ein starker Guss vom Himmel. Dann war es aber auch, als sei nichts gewesen. Vormittags war es meist sonnig, nachmittags regnete es hin und wieder. Sicherlich ist es enttäuschend, wenn man sich auf einer Tagestour befindet und gerade dann vom Regen überrascht wird, wenn man das magische Foto schießen möchte. Aber das ist dann eben die Regenzeit. Ich habe es meist so gehalten, dass ich geschwommen bin, wenn die Sonne schien und einfach relaxed habe, wenn es regnete. Und es ist ein göttliches Gefühl, in einem dieser überdimensionalen Day Beds zu liegen, eine Tasse Ingwertee zu trinken und in einem spannenden Buch zu schmökern, während der Regen auf das Dach prasselt. Warm und tropisch. Sogar ein Spaziergang im Regen ist angenehm. Erst recht in Badesachen!

Flughafensteuer: Die Steuer beträgt zur Zeit 150.000 Rp und ist bar und passend zu entrichten.