NOLA gator Airboat tour
We had booked an Air Boat ride with New Orleans Air Boat Tours that looked like it was going to be an epic experience. We can assure you that this was absolutely a highlight of our trip. We were able to use it as our homeschool day for Abby no less! We rode through the Mississippi River, wetland area, and swamps where we were given quite the lesson from our boat Captain. One great point he made was about the history of the Mississippi river and how human interference years before caused flooding of epic proportions. The levy systems are one of the only saving graces for New Orleans, which was demonstrated during hurricane Katrina. When they broke during that hurricane, it was felt all through New Orleans and the damage can still be seen in certain areas of the city.
The entire ride we heard Abby screaming out in excitement or giggling as we glided over waves and plants. She did however stop laughing when we got to meet our first guest of this trip. We were introduced to a 10 ft male alligator up close and personal. Our Captain threw out some marshmallows for a snack then brought out the chicken for the important part. This is where we got closer to an alligator than I would like to in any other environment. The Captain broke off a piece of and tossed it into the gators open and waiting mouth which was followed with a chomp so strong that even as I type this it gives me goose bumps. I’ve you’ve never heard a gator chomp down on something; I invite you to check it out on our video.
While feeding said gator, our Captain began to give us some really impressive information about the gator population and why they are how they are. Of course, this was after taking a selfie with this gator no less. I think it is safe to say that he knew what he was doing so we shall just move on and say, that was pretty cool. We continued out journey through the marshlands in search of another gator to learn about. This time, it was a baby and its mama.
We pulled off to a slight embankment where the Captain brought a baby alligator up to the bow to tell us about them. It squirmed a little but not in the I’m going to escape kind of way, more like it wanted to get comfortable. Once it was finally in its happy place, it began to make its chirping for help noise. I’ve watched National Geographic a few times and I remember something about if another gator hears this sound, they come fast to protect and save the baby. Right on cue, a female alligator began swimming right towards our airboat. The Captain continued talking with us about the baby and how many gators are in the area right up until the female was about 30 yards from us and he put the baby back in its holding tank. He then brought the female up and onto the bow of the airboat. Yep, this is now twice we have been in extreme closeness to these creatures in the span of about 30 minutes. We were able to see in complete detail this lady gator as she hung out on the boat for a few minutes as he talked. He had a stick in hand to control the situation and when we were done, he guided her off the boat and back into the water.
Once mama was back in the water and doing what she wanted, he brought the baby out and passed it around for everyone to feel and hold. Jennie was loving this! Abby wasn’t really jumping at the opportunity to hold the gator but she was happy to pet it which was plenty enough for her. We started up again and continued touring the area and enjoying the ride until we finally headed back to the dock to call it a day. This was absolutely a great time and learning experience for Abby that we highly recommend going to see them if you’re in NOLA looking for this kind of adventure.