Billie Swamp Safari: An Adventure In The Everglades

Billie Swamp Safari: An Adventure In The Everglades

Looking for off the beaten path in South Florida? Then how about an adventure in the Everglades? At Billie Swamp Safari you can explore nature trails, learn about local animals, and eat native Seminole cuisine. It’s the real Florida experience.

 

Located less than 2 hours from both Miami and Fort Myers is Billie Swamp Safari, located inside the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. We arrived around lunch time, after having spent a couple of hours at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. We were greeted in the gift shop with a big smile by Amanda, who explained all of the different exhibits, shows, and rides that were available. The really cool thing about Billie Swamp Safari is that it’s free to get in and you only pay for the specific activity you want. So if you’re not into snakes, you don’t have to pay for the Snake Show. Or if grandma thinks the Buggy Tour might be too bumpy for her, she can sit and wait in the Butterfly Garden.

 

Since we were pretty hungry (aren’t we always??) we actually started our adventure in the Swamp Water Cafe. We were greeted with another big smile (seriously, everyone was always smiling!) and given some delicious bread that tasted a little like funnel cakes… yum!

 

Swamp Water Cafe at Billie Swamp Safari

 

The menu itself was a pretty decent size, with a lot of typical American diner type food like burgers, sandwiches, and wings. But there were also some “Seminole favorites.” Since we wanted to experience real Florida, we chose the Sampler Platter which consisted of catfish, gator tail nuggets, frog legs, french fries, coleslaw, and cornbread.

 

Frog legs, fries, cornbread at Billie Swamp Safari

 

Remember how we said we were pretty hungry? Well, we tried to finish it all. We really did. And even though it was all delicious (yes, even the frog legs) we were only able to finish about two-thirds of it.

 

Over the next few hours we continued our Everglades adventure. We went on an airboat ride, went to the Critter Show and Snake Show, and finished off with a Swamp Buggy Eco-Tour. The airboats and buggies run continuously throughout the day but the Critter Show and Snake Show only have 2 scheduled times each, so keep that in mind when planning your own adventure. What we thought was great was that in between each activity, you were still left with time to roam around the grounds and check out their various animal and traditional Seminole village exhibits.

 

Airboat Ride

Our ride on the “River of Grass” allowed us to really see how amazing this body of water is. Our guide slowed the airboat and pointed out animals as we encountered them, and answered all of the questions we had.

River of grass Billie Swamp Safari

airboat ride through the everglades with Billie Swamp Safari

alligators, wild turkeys, and turtles at Billie Swamp Safari

We saw a lot of animals, including alligators, wild turkeys, and turtles.

Billie Swamp Safari airboat

Don’t worry guys, I wasn’t driving the airboat. This picture was taken after we got back. 😉

 

Swamp Critter Show

This show was done at Fort Critter. We were shown different animals and told about their eating habits, where they usually live, life spans, etc. We were even able to pet most of them!

A ferret, anteater, alligator snapping turtle, and baby alligator at Billie Swamp Safari

A ferret, anteater, alligator snapping turtle, and baby alligator.

 

Venomous Snake Show

During this show, several snakes were brought out and shown to us. We learned a little about them and their unique characteristics and even got to see them being fed!

Billie Swamp Safari snake show

 

Swamp Buggy Eco-Tour

This tour was SO much fun! Hold on tight because the road does get bumpy. We were going through water, between trees, and got to see a lot of native animals (like buffalo) and non-native animals (like ostriches). We even saw a wild bear! It all happened so fast that we didn’t get a picture. Our guide was absolutely giddy with excitement. He said in 13 years working there he’d only seen a bear one other time.

Billie Swamp Safari swamp buggy

birds, sleeping wild pigs, an ostrich, buffalo (including 2 white ones), and deer at Billie Swamp Safari

Lots of birds, sleeping wild pigs, an ostrich, buffalo (including 2 white ones), and deer.

 

Chickee Huts

To complete our adventure, we spent the night in a native-style chickee. There was no electricity, no bathroom, no wifi. Just two small beds. But once again we were greeted with a smile, this one a bit greener. And there was a small deck in the back of the chickee which overlooked the water, which we absolutely loved!

Billie Swamp Safari chickee hut

Inside a chickee hut at Billie Swamp Safari

Inside a chickee hut at Billie Swamp Safari

The view behind a chickee hut at Billie Swamp Safari

 

A few tips:

  • – Any time you’re spending time outside in Florida, you should have some insect repellent.
  • – Keep an eye on the weather, you may need sunblock or an umbrella.
  • – Wear good walking shoes. Some of the paths aren’t paved so if it’s rained it will be muddy.
  • – If you spend the night in a chickee, remember to leave all food in your car. You don’t want to entice any critters into paying you a visit in the middle of the night. And bring a flashlight!
  • – I’d recommend bringing a portable battery/charger for your phone. You’re in the middle of the Everglades so your phone will constantly be looking for a signal which will drain your phone quick. I ended up turning my phone off for awhile. You could leave it on airplane mode, but there wasn’t always wifi.

 

I really enjoyed my time at Billie Swamp Safari; I got to do and see so many cool things. It’s a great place for kids and adults to spend a day and experience the real Florida.

 

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Experience the real South Florida by going on an exciting adventure through the Everglades with Billie Swamp Safari.

 

**A big thank you to Melissa and Florida Seminole Tourism for hosting us. As always, however, all opinions are our own.**

 

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Hi! I'm Vicky, a South Florida-based blogger traveling around the world with my stuffed monkey Buddy. We show you how to make travel a priority while working a full time job. Click on the photo to learn more!

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