Backstage Pass: Model Victoria Henley airboats through gator country


Nestled in the heart of the peaceful, serene and naturally beautiful Lake Jessup in Orlando, Fla., Black Hammock Orlando Airboat rides offer a plethora of opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Featuring numerous boating experience options, a tropical bird enclosure where visitors can get up close and personal with an array of colorful fowl from around the world and a full-service bar and restaurant, this innovative and dynamic airboat company is more than simply a boating excursion, but rather a full-fledged complex, filled with opportunities to make one of a kind memories in one of North Florida’s most breathtaking natural habitats.

I, my house photographer Lynn and adventure loving grandmother Ramona , “Mimmie”) were afforded the exclusive opportunity to experience an intimate early evening boat tour with this acclaimed company.

Led by the affable, personable and experienced Captain Byron, the approximately 30 minute tour began with the sight of dozens of alligators, ranging from babies to fully grown behemoths, posing tremendous social media-worthy photo ops of Florida’s most fearsome reptiles.

Once aboard the airboat, which offers an effortlessly smooth, gliding ride across the vast expanses of the lake, guests are treated to up close and personal vantage points of the flora, fauna and unbelievable biodiversity of the marshlands.

A few of the many exciting sites we viewed throughout the duration of our ride included the Purple Galling Bird, apple snails and little blue herons. Captain Byron entertained, educated, and informed our group with extensive information regarding the wildlife we encountered as we wound our way through the swamplands, enjoying the exhilarating tricks and high speed velocity of the boat throughout our journey.

Numerous additional highlights of our memorable excursion included encompassing the perimeters of “Bird Island,” a privately owned bird sanctuary that was inhabited in 1837 when the legendary Lieutenant Peyton explored the St. John’s River by barge, accompanied by Native Americans, as well as in depth information regarding the area’s wildly impressive natural landscape.

Home to over 13,000 alligators, Lake Jessup boasts one of the most concentrated natural alligator populations in the state of Florida, a number which was even exponentially higher in the 1950’s and 60’s when the fascinating reptilian marvels were federally protected from hunting.

Upon the conclusion of the tour, guests are afforded the thrilling opportunity to hold a real live alligator for a one of a kind photo op, sure to be the envy of all your friends and family, prompting them to pay their very own visit to one of North Florida’s premier attractions.

Special thanks to the wonderful manager Jayson for facilitating our visit for this spotlight feature!


PHONE NUMBER: (407) 365-1244

INSTAGRAM @blackhammock