If you are in New Orleans for any more than a couple of days, you’ll need to take a break from the alcohol and stench of Bourbon Street for awhile.  One thing to do is to take a swamp/bayou tour. There are many out there and I had been on one the last time I was here but it didn’t compare to Airboat Adventures Swamp Tours http://www.airboatadventures.com/.  Located in Lafitte just a 30 minute ride from our hotel, this was a fun way to spend a half a day (If you don’t have a rental car, they do have a couple of locations in the French Quarter that they will come and pick people up in an air conditioned mini-bus).  Check in took a bit but there is a small gift shop that has a few rescued alligators – one an albino – and some drinks/snacks.  I’d recommend either bringing or buying water and using the restroom prior to heading out.  The actual tour lasted about 2 hours and began with an exhillerating high speed air boat ride across open waters before reaching the narrow bayous lined with moss-draped cypress and tupelo gum trees.   During our time tooling through the swamps, we saw turtles, egrets, and plenty of alligators.  The highlight definitely was getting up close and personal with the large creatures and feeding them marshmallows (apparently alligator crack-they couldn’t get enough of them) and we even got to hold a baby alligator that our guide had been keeping in a cooler on the back of the airboat.  It was also pretty thrilling witnessing our guide hop off the boat and interact with a few of them like they were pets.  Thrilling as it was, all the while I was hoping it was not going to end in an episode of vacations gone bad.  They are, afterall, wild animals and none of us was familiar with operating an air boat. Happy to say, the day ended well and a good time was had by all. My only recommendation would be to make sure you go in the morning hours as it gets quite hot later in the day and the airboats are not covered providing zero protection from the elements.  We were also told the alligators are usually hiding deep below to stay cool during the hot afternoon sun–can’t blame them really. We paid a little bit more to be in an airboat that holds only 6 and it was perfect – the smaller group gave us an opportunity to ask questions freely and take plenty of photos without tripping over one another. Definitely was worth it so make sure you bring some extra $$ to tip your guide well.

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