This back-to-school season, kids are busy learning about math, science, history and a host of exciting subjects in school—but who says you can’t do the same?
Now is the perfect time for a refresher course on the world of natural and historical wonder right in your Central Florida backyard! Just read on for a few fun lessons the entire family can enjoy.
Discover Old Florida in real time
Through the hustle and bustle of Central Florida’s modern streets and cities, it’s easy to forget what the land once looked like! Long before cars, malls, theme parks and modern life as we know it, our slice of the Sunshine State was characterized by stretches of swampland, lush thickets and lakes and rivers scattered throughout. A virtually untouched paradise.
We may not be able to take a time machine back to this unspoiled Old Florida, but we can take an airboat ride—and that’s pretty close. Our tours are guided from a love and appreciation for the natural history of 100,000 year-old Lake Jesup, and we work to ensure that every rider feels like they’ve stumbled upon a truly one-of-a-kind natural discovery. Old Florida in real time.
Brush up on your bird IQ
In addition to learning more about the natural environment, a trip to The Black Hammock also offers the opportunity to brush up on your bird IQ! For example, did you know that more than 500 wading birds call Bird Island on Lake Jesup “home,” including white ibises, wood storks, great blue herons and more? The Black Hammock is also home to a pair of talkative macaws, Baby and Morgan, as well as bald eagles and wild turkeys (who, contrary to popular belief, can actually fly!) and a host of other famous feathered friends. A trip to The Black Hammock is an opportunity to learn more about identifying beautiful birds, and the unique roles they play in our natural ecosystem.
Learn about Florida’s famous gators…
Wading birds dominate the skies and surface of the water, but Lake Jesup is also home to many alligators—in fact, it’s one of the most populated gator spots in the entire Sunshine State!
Seeing these mighty reptiles in person, from the comfort of your airboat, is like nothing else. They might remind you of living dinosaurs with their rough skin, stealthy walk (with bursts of speed) and impressive set of teeth. By visiting The Black Hammock, you get a chance to spot gators in the wild, and can meet our resident family, too! Spikey, Chewie, Ziggie, Chloe, Grumy and Peaches form the reptile family here at The Black Hammock. By observing them, you will learn key alligator facts—like that gators’ “snouts” are more rounded, separating them from crocodiles who have a more triangular face and live in brackish waters. Plus, did you know that the name “alligator” may come from Spanish “el lagarto,” or “the lizard,” which is what Spanish settlers named the reptile when they first arrived in Florida? A science and language lesson in one!
Above all, we hope you learn that you don’t need to fear alligators! Simply respect them, and if you spot one in the wild, keep your distance and avoid touching or approaching the animal. Alligators have called this part of the globe “home” for millions of years, and seeing them is like seeing Florida’s wild pre-history play out right before your eyes.
We hope that today’s “lesson” helps you discover (or re-discover) our truly one-of-a-kind slice of Central Florida! Of course, there’s no better way to experience it all than through firsthand experience. Visit The Black Hammock soon to learn more, see our wildlife in action, and cruise through the heart of the Sunshine State in style.
Schools and teachers, you can even learn about fun field trip opportunities! Just contact us for more information.