A web search for the above name for this popular Florida attraction will take you to a page where it trumpets itself as a thrill pack of adventures in zip-lining, horseback riding and motorized coach rides. Ho hum.
But, believe me it is all of that and more. A lot more!
On our visit we did the "motorized coach" attraction and promptly encountered horses enjoying rainy-day pastures of immense freedom; horses that were the direct descendants of their Spanish ancestors from the state's colonial period and before.
We intruded on mama alligator and three of her offspring (red arrows). See the yellow vertical stripes. They were very much in their wild habitat. We humans were properly confined to an elevated platform on a smooth-running but clunky looking swamp-type vehicle being piloted by an extremely knowledgeable and just as friendly lady naturalist, Leslie (right).
We chugged our way, bouncing merrily over rutted tracks winding through thousands of acres of pristine natural habitat known as the Allan Broussard Conservancy.
"The mission of the conservancy is to preserve and protect the fragile eco-systems of Florida's native wilderness to provide a permanent protective habitat for wildlife, to maintain the historical ranching operation and to educate the public about the importance of conservation and the preservation of our unique ranching heritage."
We rambled through hundreds and hundreds of acres of active ranch land then crossed a magical divide into a wilderness of 3,200 acres of undisturbed natural ecosystems: longleaf pine, wiregrass and palmetto flatwoods, slash pine and sable palm flatwoods, dry and wet prairies, scrub cypress domes, a variety of hammocks, a blackwater creek and sloughs.
We enjoyed seeing this whitetailed deer lounging in her piece of tranquility.
We disembarked from our jitney and wandered into our own sense of Nirvana via a hammock with indescribable, natural solitude. Where Leslie...
...put scholarly meaning to the raw beauty of Florida Forever.