The Black Hammock Adventure complex is east of Orlando and just north of Oviedo, at the end of a winding road through citrus groves. The complex includes fantastic airboat rides, a gift shop, the Lazy Gator Bar, and a display of live gators, including a 35-year-old gator named Hammy who inhabits a cage all to himself near the lakeside docks. On Sundays you get to see the gators being fed (weather permitting) At its entrance is the Black Hammock Restaurant, under new management with our talented new chef, where baby gators lounge in an aquarium that backs up against a booth in the dining room.
In the heart of Seminole County along the middle basin of the St. Johns River, Lake Jesup encompasses an area of approximately 10,000 acres and has a circumference of 28 miles, eventually connecting with the St. Johns River. This 100,000 year old lake is home to over 9000 alligators — the largest concentration of the magnificent beasts of any lake in the U.S. Many species of birds, Bald Eagles, wild boars, bobcats, and alligators call Lake Jesup home. It is also anthropologically rich with Native American artifacts. The lake has been environmentally researched by three major universities.
The highlight of a stop at this Black Hammock destination, however, is the airboat ride. Enjoy a ride on one of 3 airboats leaving on tours of heavily gator-populated Lake Jesup every 30 minutes. The Adventure also includes a gift shop and the Lazy Gator Bar.
Joel Martin was born in Paris, France. His family moved to Africa when he was young, and there he grew up surrounded by the magnificent wildlife. He spent a lot of his youth out in the jungles hunting snakes, alligators and other creatures. His survival skills were honed by his many African and Malgache friends.
He returned to France to do his tour of duty. He chose to be in the Navy which had their base at Toulon, in the beautiful south of France. After his tour of duty was over, he settled in Corsica, where he opened a restaurant and nightclub. He also had a small ranch where he could ride his horses.
The lure of the French Riviera drew Joel and family. There he went to open a real estate company. But all plans changed in 1995, when he won a green card and was allowed to emigrate to America. Without hesitation, he packed up the family and moved to the States. Joel chose Florida as he enjoys the heat and humidity, so reminiscent of his youth.
His choice of lifestyle led him to the Oviedo area where he could live in the country and keep his horse. On a morning walk one day he discovered that not 5 minutes away is the Black Hammock Restaurant, on lovely Lake Jesup, with it’s mangroves and alligators. Now he knows he is in paradise! He is at home just as he was in Africa.
Joel obtained his American Citizenship, fully living out his AMERICAN DREAM!
Joel through the years: