🦋 It’s airboat rides, gators and butterflies at this Kissimmee attraction

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures opens new butterfly garden, educates on native Florida

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures in Kissimmee is all about education, teaching people about the native Florida. Visit ClickOrlando.com/insider to enter for your chance to win tickets for your very own insightful expedition.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – It’s a hidden gem in Kissimmee that combines fun with education, teaching visitors and even locals about Native Florida with some new attractions.

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures opened in 1994, just offering airboat rides along Lake Toho.

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“The primary advantage of an airboat is that you can travel in super shallow water, through heavy vegetation without fears of getting stuck,” Captain John Ruggeri said. “I’ve done this ride over 23,000 times and every single one is completely different. It’s all unique.”

The ride is entertaining, but there’s also an educational aspect to it. Learning about Florida wildlife you’ll spot along the journey.

“Everything from bald eagles and Snail Kites to alligators and snakes,” Ruggeri said.

Since the 90s, Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures has expanded. The 32-acre property has a park that sits on seven of those acres. The park housing a restaurant, fossil and gem mining, gator pond and its newest attraction, the butterfly garden.

“So we keep in our enclosure about 250 to 300 butterflies. About every ten days we are releasing more. We have different ones that are absolutely amazing. We have the zebra longwings that are breathtaking and we also have one called the Malachite butterfly which is neon green and black,” said Nick Romeo, director of sales.

You can use nectar to attract the butterflies to land on you to get an up close view.

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The exhibit also houses some animals native to Florida like bobwhite quails, wood ducks and turtles.

The plants also make the butterfly garden a relaxing and zen area. Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures partners with the Florida Native Plant Society, to maintain their native vegetation.

“These trees out here, some are older than 200 years on our property. They’re absolutely breathtaking,” Romeo said.

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

There’s also a native American village on property with huts and artifacts.

“One of the names of this land would be igonot (sp?). It wasn’t until the early 1500s that it got changed to la florida and it’s been Florida ever since. Already I get a lot of people saying ‘oh, I didn’t know that’ and that’s the reason why it’s so important to speak about the original natives that were here before the spanish inquisition,” said Go Native Now owner Oskwanontona Piaroya, also known as, “Little” Big Mountain.

“Little” Big Mountain is a fourth generation educator on native culture. He doesn’t just teach the traditional ways of the Jororo natives, he lives it. He and his family call the authentic village at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures home.

“We’re going to really make this an experience for people to learn, not only what the native plants are that they can put in their backyard to attract everything, but to educate everyone on how sensitive our environment is. On how these can disappear in a heartbeat and how we can help sustain that. Education is a bit part of this attraction,” Romeo said.

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures is open seven days a week. No reservations required.

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About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.