Family friendly summer safari staycation - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

Family friendly summer safari staycation

Swamp Buggy Ride Swamp Buggy Ride
Air Boat Ride Air Boat Ride

CLEWISTON, FL (WFLX) - Take a drive an hour west where concrete is replaced with Sawgrass and cypress trees cover the land.

An airboat ride is just one of the many ways to see wild animals in their native habitat at Billie Swamp Safari.

My tour guide, Lawrence Settel, has seen a lot of wild things while on the job, but one really stands out in his mind. "One of the coolest things I've ever seen was probably one of the most gruesome things. But one of the bigger gators we have out here was Tippy. He had a baby calf."

I'll let you envision the rest!

After our airboat ride, Lawrence takes me into the middle of a cypress head. "Right now, we're on the boardwalk. We're actually walking suspended over the water, and there's alligators, snakes, frogs, turtles beneath us."

But Billie Swamp Safari is more than a place to explore 2,200 acres of untamed Florida.

It's also a place to learn about the people who once called the area home. "There were many different types of Native American tribes that were here. The Seminoles were made up of different Native American tribes that came around from the Southeastern United States."

The Seminoles, wanting more people to learn about their culture, host an annual Swamp Kids Summer Fun Festival, and Lawrence and his coworkers have pulled out all the stops. "We have two different types of shows," said Melissa Sherman. "We have a venomous snake show. It's safe, and we also have the swamp critter show."

They also have swamp buggy rides. "You bounce through the swamp and the cypress head. You see exotic and native animals, so that's an hour long ride. It's fun for the whole family, even babies can go," continued Sherman.

Now, if you really want to go native, stay the weekend either at their rustic camping village or their RV resort and campground. "We have a 110 sites, both grass and paved sites. We also have eight cabins which are named after the eight clans of the Seminole Florida," said Evelyn Mata.

It's one wild vacation appropriate for the whole family.

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