EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. – Wooten’s Airboat Tours, an airboat tour company near Everglades City, was recently purchased by the Patel family of Fort Myers. The previous owner, Gene Wooten, inherited the company from his father, Raymond Wooten, in the early 90s. When Raymond started the company in 1953, it was the first Everglades airboat company in Southwest Florida.
George Patel and his son Aashish, who also own and operate Everglades City Motel and Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours, have already begun to make improvements, including adding an hourly alligator show run by an experienced handler.
“Our first priority is to make sure visitors have a safe and entertaining visit when they make the trip all the way to the Everglades,” said Aashish Patel, owner. “We’re updating the animal sanctuary to make sure the animals are taken care of, we’re adding more boats to keep wait times short, and we’ve started an hourly gator show so visitors and their families can see plenty of what they really came to see—alligators!”
Wooten’s will keep what makes it unique: 253 acres of private land, airboat tours through the grasslands of the Everglades, swamp buggy tours through a cypress forest, and an animal sanctuary home to panthers, snakes, otters, bobcats, tigers, crocodiles, and over 100 alligators.
“I’m happy my father Gene sold the company to the Patels,” said Shelley Gericke, a swamp buggy tour guide at Wooten’s. “They have a lot of experience with tourism in the Everglades, so I know Wooten’s will continue its 60-year legacy in good hands.”
Interested visitors can call 1-800-282-2781 or visit www.wootenseverglades.com for more information.