It is an absolutely amazing place and I’m so glad we went. We arrived and headed to the ticket window for the boat cruise, which I had read was completely worth the time. Unfortunately, we stopped at the bathroom first which meant they sold out of the next cruise just before we got to the head of the line. We had to wait for 90 minutes, but we figured that would be ok although we definitely considered ditching it. I’m so glad we didn’t!
While we waited for our cruise time, we went swimming in the roped-off swimming area. The diving platform is over the deepest part of the Spring, where the underwater source of the Springs emerges over 100 ft deep. Very rarely, it is clear enough for a glass-bottom boat to go out but the ranger said it only happens a few times a year since the water is usually murky.
When the lifeguard was asked what keeps the alligators out from the roped off area, he casually replied, “Absolutely nothing.”
We jumped off the platform, swam around, and then got out to towel dry off. We went into the main lodge to try drinks from the old-fashioned soda fountain. I’m glad we went then because there was no line while later, it was a complete mob scene. We tried the old-fashioned cherry soda and blackberry soda, in addition to a Ginger Yip (a vanilla milkshake made with ginger ale). Everything was delicious.
Then, it was time for our boat tour. It was a 90 minute river tour where we saw the incredible scenery, lots of different birds, several alligators of various sizes, and MANATEES, including a mother and baby. It was amazing. I am so happy we went. Our ranger guide was really into the river and very well-informed.
After the cruise, we drove to Jacksonville where SMS got a haircut. He looked great. Then it was on to Georgia where we stopped at Peach World, for all things peach. We sampled several items, bought peaches and filled up on the most expensive gas around for miles.
Then it was on to Savannah, where we were staying at the Kehoe House. We arrived after dark and went for a quick walk before a huge thunderstorm rolled in. We partook of the port and dessert bar in the downstairs living room before heading upstairs. The bedroom was amazing with its own balcony overlooking the square.