Exploring Seminole County's Natural Side

I love exploring the state of Florida. While Orlando is my home base there is so much to discover nearby and beyond.  

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to do some exploring in Seminole County. I was excited to be able to cross off a number of activities on my Florida bucket list on this one trip. I enjoyed a few things for the first time including kayaking on the Wekiva and an airboat ride.

Our first stop was the Geneva Wilderness Area and what a visual delight!
Geneva Wilderness Area
Before we did some nature exploring, our group got a bit of an education on the Florida wildlife at the Ed Yarborough Nature Center. We learned about snakes, alligators, invasive plants and animals and so much more.

Geneva Wilderness Area Ed Yarborough Nature Center

Geneva Wilderness Area Ed Yarborough Nature Center
I learned quite a bit on this trip. Alligators stay with their moms till they are around 2, they grow about a foot each year and they go through a lot of teeth.
baby alligator at the nature center at Geneva Wilderness Area
After our nature lesson for the day, we went out exploring in the wilderness. While we were out on the trails we came across this beautiful tortoise trying to cross the path.
Tortise out in the Geneva Wilderness Area
Nature by itself is a sight to enjoy, but I found these old train tracks from Henry Flagler's day just as fascinating. You envision what life was like when folks had to use the train as a major form of transportation.
Geneva Wilderness Area old train tracks

Geneva Wilderness Area old train tracks
What I loved about the Geneva Wilderness Area is I felt safe out there. There are a few times I've gone exploring in other parks in Florida, but no one else is around. I liked knowing there were park rangers in the vicinity.

Enjoy a nice walk along the Flagler Trail. This three-hour loop is part of the Florida National Scenic Trail; a wonderful way to enjoy nature at her finest.
Geneva Wilderness Area trees and river

Our next adventure took us out on the Wekiva River. I have wanted to kayak along this river ever since we moved here. I've heard many wonderful stories from friends about how lovely this river is.

For all our outings our group rode in comfort with the folks from Florida Fun Shuttle. They have some fun Florida itineraries including a Beach Express, Kayak/Tubing, and a Gator Express to name a few. It was a fun way to get to each destination.
Florida Fun Shuttle
Day two of our adventure started out at Katy's Landing at the Lower Wekiva River Preserve.
Adventures in Florida on the Wekiva River
We started our journey early in the morning.  It was a beautiful summer day. I LOVED this adventure! Our group guided along with the friendly folks from Adventures in Florida. This was 4 hours of bliss. There was so much natural beauty to look at. The only sounds we heard for the majority of our journey came from nature.
Adventures in Florida kayaking on the Wekiva River

Adventures in Florida on the Wekiva River
During our 12-mile journey along the Wekiva up to the St. Johns River, we spotted Osprey, alligators, manatee and other wildlife.  This was the first time I heard an alligator. Their bellow sounds a bit creepy. The birds, on the other hand, had a way of making one feel zen.

Our group took a snack break a little more than halfway through our outing. It was nice to get out, stretch and fuel up. Some even took the opportunity to enjoy a swim.
Adventures in Florida on the Wekiva River kayaks on the beach
We ended our journey at the Swamp House Grill & Tiki Bar. We enjoyed a beer and a World Cup Soccer Match before we headed on out to our next adventure.

Our next bit of fun was at the Central Florida Zoo. We got to do some exploring at the zoo and see the new giraffe exhibit.
New giraffe exhibit Central Florida Zoo
While the zoo was nice, the fun was all up in the air. We came to experience Zoom Air Adventure Park. This was another first for me. It was thrilling to be doing some zip lining between the aerial adventure courses. I'm usually one who is leery of heights, but I wasn't a bit afraid of this.
ZOOMAIR Treetop Adventures course begining
There are three tree top courses you can go on, but first, you need to pass your safety instructions.  I didn't realize the work involved in keeping us safe.  I had no worries with all the precautions taken.
Safety Gear for ZOOMAIR Treetop Adventures
This was one good workout, both physically and mentally. You have to focus on every move you are doing and things aren't as easy as they appear. It is thrilling to be whizzing through the air and knowing how you could accept the challenge involved.
ZOOMAIR Treetop Adventures ariel adventure course

On our last day, we headed to Sanford. We were going on an airboat ride! Something I've wanted to do for so long. My kids have even enjoyed riding in an airboat. You could not ask for better weather!

Our group launched from The Port Steak & Seafood restaurant. We had a wonderful hour-long ride with the folks from The Gators Nest.

Our guide was great. I learned a bit about the area and the wildlife we saw.  We came across a bunch of baby gators and a variety of birds.  I loved being out on the water, great fun floating across the river.
Viewing Birds and Alligators on an Airboat Ride on the St. Johns River in Seminole County

Wildlife on an Airboat Ride on the St. Johns River in Seminole County

Wildlife on an Airboat Ride on the St. Johns River in Seminole County
I can now feel like I've experienced the real Florida. I enjoy my time at the theme parks, towns, and beaches, but nothing is better for my soul than getting out and enjoying nature. It's so peaceful to take in the scenery and sounds. I appreciate that I can enjoy all this so close to home. It's just of the many reasons I love living in Florida.

Places to stay during your visit to Seminole County: