Armchair photo tours: The Original Airboat Tour at Coopertown, Florida

Photos by Cheryl Landes

The Coopertown airboat tour is a nine-mile guided educational experience through open saw grass, a hardwood hammock, and into Everglades National Park.

During the tour, the guides stopped at alligator holes and when they spotted other wildlife. This environment is rich with alligators, herons, grackles, turtoes, raccoons, the endangered Everglade snail kite, and purple gallinule. The porpule gallinule is one of the most colorful birds in Florida.

We saw several alligators. They can move fast, so when some surfaced briefly, they’d dive again and resurface a minute or two later a long distance away. Some would dive and we’d never see them again.

The tour lasts about an hour. After we returned to the dock, the guides gave us close-up views of a young alligator and snake and allowed us to pet them.

John Cooper founded Coopertown at the site of an old Seminole village in 1945. The business is still family-owned.

The Coopertown Restaurant specializes in down-home cooking Florida style, featuring frog legs, alligator tail nuggets, and catfish.


Coopertown is 28 miles west of Miami.

One thought on “Armchair photo tours: The Original Airboat Tour at Coopertown, Florida

  1. Several years ago, we took a boat ride from the Everglades National Park. The lecture was given by one of the park’s rangers. We saw many of the animals and birds that you mention. I was amazed at the osprey nests that dotted the horizon. I was bummed to be told that I would most likely not see a manatee, except maybe a nose, but I immediately forgot my disappointment when a school of dolphin came up on either side of the boat to ride and dive the boat’s wake. I was so excited, I almost dropped my camera into the water. Just as well. Much better to enjoy our entourage until they dove and headed off into the sunset.

    Liked by 1 person

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