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Day 1 – Alexandria Takes a Trip on the Wild Side

Wild Florida – 3.5/5 stars

A warm welcome from the Sunshine State from me and my mum, Lesley! In this series of diary entries, I’ll be giving you in-action reporting and insider tips, so that when it’s your time to shine in Florida, you can make the most of every moment.

After sleepless nights trying to plan every minute of this trip, a great night's sleep arrived just in time for us to wake up bright and early for our first full day in Florida. We enjoyed our breakfast beside a beautiful pool at our wonderful Solara Villa, making the most of the sunny weather (yes, even in March!). Then fuelled and ready, we hit the road to Wild Florida, Orlando.


The journey was 45 minutes from our Kissimmee Area home, and as we entered the park, we immediately felt a laid-back vibe perfect for gently easing us into the action. As we strolled around the animal sanctuaries, we were greeted by tropical wildlife ranging from a talking cockatoo to sleepy sloths and crocodiles snappy enough to make mum jump! In fact, there are over 200 native and exotic animals to see at the Gator Park alone. The animal trainers were also on hand with expert knowledge - for example, did you know you’re supposed to run away from gators in a straight line, not zigzag? A tree also won’t save you from American alligators – as they often climb them to find a good sunbathing spot!  

Thankfully, we felt completely safe in the drive-through Safari, where beauties such as bison and cracked cows joined the party, for 2 hours meeting over 100 animals in total. After which time, I was more than ready for lunch at the Chomp House Grill. Being British, I appreciated my burgers and chips, but those with dietary requirements beyond a barbecue may want to consider alternative options. 


To round off the day, we travelled deep into the Florida Marshes on an airboat adventure – a high-speed encounter with an expert guide navigating us through thrilling aquatic wildlife. At which point, you may be questioning, “Why only 3.5 stars, Alexandria?”

In fairness to Wild Florida, after two years of waiting for this holiday in lockdown, experiencing only the wildlife of my garden, the park had a lot of expectations to live up to! And for the most part, Wild Florida does deliver a nature retreat families will love. However, fellow city-slickers may want to choose a whistle-stop tour of the park for a half-day trip, before returning to the comforts of Orlando. Stay tuned for my take on those attractions and more, coming soon to Ocean Florida’s Theme Park Tester Page and via social media...

Today’s Top Tips

•    In colder months take a jacket on the Airboats as it can get chilly
•    Try to avoid peak times in the restaurant as it can get busy
•    Pre-book the airboat ride as soon as you enter the park

Today’s Memorable Moments

•    Up-close animal encounters, especially feeding the Giraffe
•    Knowledge of the animal trainers at the live shows
•    Experiencing the airboat ride

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