Last week I talked about the great accommodation options found at the recently reopened Westgate River Ranch. While we were there, my mom and I got to experience several of the fantastic recreation options available to guests and locals. I’d like to take this opportunity to review what we did, plus many of the other activities that we just didn’t have the time to fit in to our fun weekend at the Ranch.
When we first arrived a bit before check in time, our room was not yet ready, so we were encouraged to check out some of the recreation offerings the ranch has. Since we originally were not scheduled to arrive until that night after midnight, we really hadn’t looked too closely at what choices were even available for use as far as recreation for that Friday. Much to our surprise, the ranch was offering helicopter rides as a special activity just for the grand re-opening. I’ve always wanted to ride in a helicopter (I partially blame my love of Magnum P.I. as a child), and I thought this would be a great way to get an overview (literally) of the ranch. The helicopter ride was a great recreation treat, even at just about ten minutes. It was so cool to see the cows and other animals below as well as the layout of Westgate River Ranch.
After the helicopter ride, we settled into our rooms before we opted to explore a little on our own prior to dinner. The ranch has golf carts available for rent, but we found it easy enough to drive from place to place by car to get to our recreation activities. The ranch is 1700 acres plus, so walking in the 90+ degree heat was not on our to do list for the weekend. In cooler times of the year it would be a beautiful walk. We checked out the marina area where we would be catching the swamp buggy the next day. We could also see the airboat that was another option. I had taken an airboat ride a few months ago for a friend’s birthday, so we opted for the recreation activity neither my mom nor I had tried.
That night after dinner, we got to experience some of the great nightlife recreation at Westgate River Ranch. The brand new adventure park really comes to life at night, especially since it is directly adjacent to the saloon, bandstand and outdoor dance floor. There was so much fun stuff going on for guests of all ages. We watched others try their hand at the mechanical bull (I wasn’t dumb enough, nor had I imbibed enough alcohol to make that happen), then stumbled upon the miniature golf course. I love miniature golf, and we were still enjoying our beers, so one handed beer golf was born. For the record, I won by a stroke, even though mom did get a hole in one on the last hole. The band played a great mix of country songs, with some pop and classic rock mixed in. In between their sets, there was still music playing, I believe from a DJ. Kids seemed to love the bungee jump and rock climbing wall. The zipline was also one of the most popular recreation options by far. Adventure Park passes include unlimited access to the mechanical bull, miniature golf, bungee jump, rock climbing and two zipline rides per day. One day passes for adults are $39.00 and $29.00 for children, two day passes are $59.00 and $49.00.
The next day after breakfast, we headed off to our first scheduled recreation activity, which was the one we were both most excited about when we saw the list of choices: skeet shooting. Neither my mom nor I had ever fired a gun prior to this, unless you count BB guns at fair games. Skeet and Trap Shooting costs $30.00 per session. There was a couple in group who were experienced shooters and had also shot the day before. We were firing a 20 gauge shotgun at moving targets. The orange discs came flying out of a window behind us, and then we had to try to hit the moving targets as they sailed up into the sky at about a 45 degree angle. The man from the couple went first and hit four of his five shots, then his wife hit two of hers. Mom went next and didn’t hit any, but she didn’t expect to not having shot a gun previously. I was up last and hit my first target, missed the next four, but I hit the first one and I had witnesses! It was awesome! I guess all those years of playing Duck Hunt and Goldeneye really paid off. 😉
We had the Swamp Buggy as our afternoon recreation activity, and it was a large open air truck that seats about 12, up about 10 feet in the air. The Swamp Buggy ride is $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for children. Being the last ones on, we were all the way in the back where the seats sit sideways and it is very hard to hear the driver. If you choose this option as one of your recreation activities while at the ranch, make sure you get on first so you can sit up front facing forward. We rode for about 45 minutes through swamp lands across the ranch property and saw some gorgeous scenery and even a couple of baby gators.
That Saturday night was the Rodeo, which is the longest running in the state of Florida. Admission is $15.50 for adults and $8.00 for children. There were amazing trick riders, bull riders, barrel racers, and even great fun for the kids under 12 where they could chase a calf with a ribbon tied to its tail to win a prize if they were able to pull off the ribbon. I had never been to a rodeo before and was pleasantly surprised by how exciting it was and how much fun I had getting in to cheering for the contestants. After the rodeo was over, there was a fantastic fireworks show to celebrate the grand re-opening. Once the rodeo was over, mom decided she was going to tackle the zipline. I had done ropes courses and ziplines before, so I passed this time so I could take pictures and video. She had a great time! In addition to the one and two day adventure park passes, you can pay for the individual recreation activities a la carte.
Overall, we got to experience many of the recreation choices at Westgate River Ranch. We visited the petting farm to see all the animals there. Also, we checked out the ropes course, which would be fantastic for a corporate retreat or family reunion for bonding exercises. We passed on horseback riding and golf since these are activities we’ve experienced before, but the facilities looked great. I would definitely like to check out the airboat ride next time and revisit skeet or maybe try trap shooting. The helicopter ride was definitely a bonus treat, but it is great to know there is an airport there for private planes and helicopters if I ever marry a millionaire and want to arrive in style. The adventure park and saloon area were also favorites of mine, especially at night. There was such a fun atmosphere of electricity with families and adult couples enjoying different aspects of the nightlife. Prices for all activities are subject to change. Please contact the ranch directly for the most up to date pricing.
If you get an opportunity, I highly recommend visiting Westgate River Ranch to check out their amazing recreation facilities as well as accommodations. In case you missed it, you can check out my post from last week here describing the different types of rooms the ranch has.
Disclaimer: I received complimentary recreation activities in exchange for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.