Everyone needs to pet a sloth at least once in life, and you can do it at Wild Florida. It’s so much fun and so memorable. Add this to your bucket list!
Wild Florida hosted us for a day of fun, getting to meet sloths and take an airboat ride.
My friend Brittany’s husband left for a deployment in the Middle East at the start of February. Any deployment is a big deal and a huge sacrifice for everyone involved. But this is a 14 month long deployment, so it really stinks. A whole year and then some. So, I was thinking that Brittany needed to do something fun to do to take her mind off the fact that she and the kids just said good bye to their Navy Captain.
Clearly, my idea of fun meant that I would need to ‘kidnap’ her for the day, to take her on an adventure.
She loves sloths the way that Kristen Bell loves sloths, so once I discovered Wild Florida and their really cool Sloth Experiences I knew that we needed to go!
We encountered horrible traffic on our way to Wild Florida, I was annoyed and nervous about missing our time for our Sloth Experience. We kept getting rerouted on our way, but we finally made it to the exit, and then we kept on driving and driving, and them driving some more. Brittany joked that I was going to murder her and dump her body in one of the many endless fields we passed. But, at last, we arrived at the Wild Florida entrance, where I spilled the beans that I wasn’t going to murder her, but instead we were going to get to hang out with sloths.
Que the sweaty palms and shaking hands! There was a lot of “are you serious?!?!?” and rubbing her palms on her pants to rein in the excitement. ha!
We pulled into Wild Florida and I got to help my friend cross ‘meeting sloths’ off her bucket list!! yay!!
VIP Sloth Experience!
Everyone should find something something that they love and make it their mission to do it. In this case, Brittany LOVES sloths, so I just knew that she would love to get to meet a sloth. Instead of planning a girls trip to Costa Rica, we just needed to drive 2 hours to do it. There are sloths located in central Florida! Going to Wild Florida is a must for locals and tourists alike.
We checked in and then we headed right over to to one of the sloth habitats to enjoy out Sloth Encounter. EEEEeeeeeeeeee!!!
She was relaxing when we first arrived, but perked right up when she saw that there were some yummy snacks for her to enjoy. She slowly made her way out of her spot and moved over a bit to say hi. With some fruit in hand she was ready to meet us.
I was so excited to get to pet her. My hand slowly reached out to her. I really shocked at how soft her hair was. I was thinking it would be really course, but it was so soft. The way that the hair grows also helps the water roll off their back when they are hanging in the trees.
The sloths at Wild Florida are rescued from the pet trade or surrendered to their care. They have been raised in human care and cannot be released to the wild. These encounters only occur if the sloths are comfortable and ready to greet you.
All of the sloths at Wild Florida are from the two-toe sloth family. There are 6 species in the 2 families of sloths: two-toe and three-toe. In fact, just about all sloths in captivity in the US are two-toe sloths. You can only have a 3-toe sloth if you have a cecropia tree, that they heavily rely on in their diet. The Dallas World Aquarium has the only three-toed sloth on display in the United States, because they have that tree on their property for the sloths to eat. Pretty cool!
Brittany was smitten with our sloth, and she was just as smitten with Brittany. After a little bit moved from her original spot, and then kept reaching out to her for more food and pets. We joked that Brittany had to be careful about not get bitten, with her mistaking one of her fingers as a yummy stick of sweet potato. How could she go home and say that she was bitten by the slowest animal?!?!? ha!
Did you know that sloths have ears that look like our human ears?! Yep, and it makes me love them even more. It’s just a fun little thing I learned about them, but it’s so cool too.
The one-of-a-kind animal encounter is fun and educational, but also is a great way of helping out preservation and conservation of sloths in the wild. Wild Florida donates a portion of funds raised through the VIP Sloth Experience to the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. Awesome!
Guy was also in the enclosure, but he was happy just hanging out by himself. He really likes to be solo, even being cozy in a big flower pot. He was snoozing at first, then moved around a bit. Even then he was still so relaxed and sleepy, giving me a BIG yawn.
Besides our VIP Sloth experience, they have a wide variety of animal encounters. I think that I’ll have to check out their porcupine experience next time!
On an Airboat!
Besides the wonderful things we saw and did directly on property, we had a blast on our airboat tour of Cypress Lake that we did after saying good by to our new sloth friends.
The U.S. Coast Guard approved airboats skim across the water and through the grasses as you keep an eye our for gators, birds, and cows. I was thrilled to see the gators, but it was really cool to see a cow munching on the fresh green grasses along the shore. ha!
The best time to ride on an airboat is from January – March. Of course it’s always enjoyable to go on a fast airboat ride, but temps then are conducive with seeing gators. They are cold blooded after all, so they don’t want to be too hot in the hot summer sun, so they tend to hide out more than. The airboat operators know where the gators hang out and nest so they stop off at those locations so can you see baby gators snuggle up with mom to gators that are 8+ feet long.
We always kept a nice distance from any gators, so I always felt safe. Even the airboat ride was very smooth. Well, except for the one time our operator fishtailed it on purpose. We gave him a dirty look, and he just laughed off our over the top reactions. ha!
Gators, Cougars, and Zonkeys!
Of course there are gators at Wild Florida! There are so many of them actually. They can be viewed along the shores of the Gator Park. Crusher even puts on a bit of a show. But this isn’t like other gator parks where they do things like put their head in between the gator’s jaws. No, this is more about featuring the animal than making it perform and do silly tricks. Learn about the beauty of the animals, vs potentially putting them in a stressful situation. I really appreciate their care and approach.
We also saw other animals like Nala the panther, porcupines, snakes, and lamas. The real highlight was getting to see the zebras and their cousins, zonkeys and zorses, and zedonks.
Our day basically wrapped up with a stop in a giant bird cage where Brittany played Snow White, enjoying her new bird friends. She bought some sticks for just $2 that had bird seed stuck to them with peanut butter. The birds loved them!!!
I, on the other hand, made this (hilarious) face when this bird wouldn’t get off me and my bag. What a little jerk! He chewed up my leather bag. hahahaha!!!
We had a really wonderful day at Wild Florida. We learned so much while have so much fun. I was thrilled that I was able to surprise my friend with a wonderful experience for her. She is so special that she deserved to have a day for her, getting to do something she always wanted to do. We had a ton of fun at Wild Florida, and I can’t wait to go back again really soon!
A big thank you to Wild Florida for hosting us for the day.
3301 Lake Cypress Road
Kenansville, FL 34739