I really wanted to see an alligator in the wild while I was in Florida. We decided out best shot would be at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. The price was right too. Only $1/hr for parking, up to 5 hours... We only stayed 1hr. You can't beat that price for 3 people!
We arrived early afternoon and for the most part, had the place to ourselves. For those that don't know, a slough (pronounced "slew") is basically a swap. This one has a depth of 2 to 3 feet of water and is comparable to a wide, shallow stream.
There were two lake/small pond areas with a whole lot of swamp in between. The first (bigger) pond /lake, is where we spotted the alligators. In the middle of the pond there were two floating decks where the alligators could climb up and sun themselves. We saw one big gator out there, and decided to get a better look and a different viewing deck. We followed the boardwalk and heard some major rustling around in the bushes, off to the side with no rail. I was definitely thinking it was a monster alligator, but it just turned out to be a bunch of hogs. Luckily they had their faces in the dirt and didn't even glance up at us once as we passed by.
We finally made our way to the other look-out spot, which didn't give us any better of view. He was too far away. Binoculars would have been nice to have!
...It was okay though, because we turned around and saw baby alligators right near the walk way! All we had to do was look down and they were right there.
We walked to the smaller pond area, but didn't see any more gators. Very pretty scenery though. It was a great little park! They had a nice visitor center as well.
I'd definitely recommend this little park if you are nearby! There is also an Earth Cache there. Due to time time and lack of motivation(oh my goodness was it humid) I didn't go after it.