Babcock Wilderness Adventures Has Permanently Closed
Located just north of Fort Myers on S.R.31, Babcock Wilderness Adventures is an exciting place to discover “real” Florida. Spread over 90,000 acres, this Punta Gorda ranch is swarming with wildlife in its native pinewood forests, marshes, and wetlands of the Telegraph Cypress Swamp.
Fortunately, visitors do not have to don fishing waders and waterproof trousers – instead the attraction offers professional tours on specially designed Swamp Buggies! Tours last for around 90 minutes and include plenty of information and hopefully a few sightings of alligators, panthers, cougars, deer and wild boar along with the resident cracker cattle and horses. Bird sightings may include beautiful red shouldered hawks, wild turkeys, egrets, herons, sandhill cranes and bald eagles.
History of Babcock Ranch at Punta Gorda
The ranch land was originally purchased by Mr. E.V. Babcock in 1914, when Punta Gorda was very different to its modern-day appearance. The Tamiami Trail had yet to be built and most traveling was undertaken by boat. The longleaf pine forest was ideal for the family’s prosperous lumber business, but by the 1930s the family had moved into cattle ranching. Over the years other ventures were tried, including a tree farm, raising alligators and breeding ostriches. Cattle ranching continues to be the mainstay of the business and this is one of the largest cattle ranches in Florida.
Family, friends and visitors always enjoyed a tour of the Babcock Ranch and so the tour business was started. Babcock Wilderness Adventure Tours take visitors around the working ranch and into some of the underdeveloped wetland with its plethora of wildlife. The commentary from the guide fills in details of the history of the ranch as well as giving lots of information about the four different ecosystems you will encounter. These 90-minute tours are currently priced at $22 for adults with discounts for seniors and children.
The second tour is a little more “grounded” and starts with a beautiful three-course lunch at the Cypress Lodge with its stunning views of the surrounding wilderness area. The group tour then heads out to explore the history and heritage of the ranch. This three hour tour including lunch costs $74.95 for adults and reservations are required. It’s worth checking out the official website which often features special events and offers.
Both tours include access to a swamp boardwalk and entry to the museum, which has exhibits of Florida ranch history housed in a movie set created for the movie Just Cause starring Sean Connery.
Gator Shack Restaurant Experience
Part of the fun of visiting Babcock Wilderness Adventures is eating at the Gator Shack. Delicious hot snacks and meals include mouthwatering BBQ pork sandwiches, hot dogs, sandwiches and other favorites.
Advertised as “A Ride on the Wildside”, this fun trip certainly lives up to its name. Open Tuesday through Saturday, you can book your place on a tour on the Babcock Wilderness Adventure online or by calling 1-800-500-5583.