After wandering into the Visitor Center and sitting through a short, vertigo-inducing film (seeing the swamp from a dragon fly's perspective can be a tad disorienting), we decided to take the tour road over to an area -- Chesser Island -- with a boardwalk, observation tower, and a historic homestead. The homestead is interesting. The house was built in the early part of the 20th century using sawmill construction, and is beautifully preserved.
The tower itself gives a nice overview of the swamp. You can see the mix: open water, grassy areas that from a distance look solid but aren't, and the pine-covered islands -- areas where the land is a little higher and drier. Photo at the top was taken from the tower. There were other visitors there at the same time, and it seemed like we were all interested in the same thing: seeing an alligator in the wild. One woman claimed she could see an alligator from the tower, but the only thing visible to me was a herd of turtles sunning themselves on a mudbank.
We did see an alligator while at Okefenokee, but it wasn't anywhere near the observation tower. On the drive in, we had noticed a couple motorcyclists had stopped to look at something in the ditch next to the road. On the way out, we stopped, too, and there he was -- spitting distance from the pavement.
Odd how one 'gator by itself is kind of neat, but a zillion of them hanging out together in an enclosure at the Alligator Farm was really, really creepy.
Having been to Okefenokee once, it's now been added to the list of places I'd like to see more of. Maybe next time we'll rent a cabin at the state park and do a guided boat trip from that side.