Behind The Line: Coopertown Airboat Rides and Restaurant Fries Gator Tail and Frog Legs

Coopertown Airboat Rides and Restaurant has stood on the Tamiami Trail (a few miles west of Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, or 11 miles west of the turnpike) since 1945. Captain Jesse Kennon the proprietor says "This is the oldest original airboat tour in the Everglades. I've been here permanently since 1981, but off and on since childhood. Our specialties here are alligator tail and frog legs, but we got burgers, dogs, breakfast and lunch.

We deep fry the gator nuggets. The meat we get fresh from Parker Island Farms just outside Sebring. They deliver us about 75 - 100 pounds a month. The frog legs come from frogs caught right here in the Everglades by different froggers we known for years, people who been livin' in the Glades their whole lives. They catch 'em early in the morning with a 4 prong gig. We used to do it ourselves, but after you hit around 30 years old you don't wanna wake up at 4 in the morning, put a flashlight on your head, catch frogs, and then go to work at 6."

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