Florida Guide > Days Out
Gatorland and conservation.
It is now 20 years since Gatorland created the alligator breeding marsh in its Florida home.
This is a natural environment for these big beasts and encourages them to breed in the best possible conditions. And breed they have.
On a recent count there were 30 males and 100 females living happily here (and with almost 4 females to each male the boys are very happy! ! ! )
It is said that every bit of water in Florida contains an alligator and it certainly feels like there is so it is surprising to find that they are endangered; but they are!
The public can enjoy a priveleged view of all the goings on from a nearby tower. The tower is 3 storeys high.
But it is not all about the ' gators. The marshes also make a perfect home for many varities of birds. Rather surprisingly the birds and the aaligators live in perfect harmony. In fact it is somewhat better than that as the gators protect the birds and they are sometimes tossed a substandard bird to snack on.
The birds that nest here are Ibis, Anhingas, herons and Egrets.
The natural predators of these birds are snakes, bobcats and raccoons and all of these are found in profusion in Florida. However, it is a brave small animal that would run the gauntlet of a group of alligators and therefore the birds are largely undisturbed.
On a recent census they counted 120 Great Egrets with 20 nests and 50 Wood Storks. In the trees in the front of the park there were 25 Cormorant nests.
Of rather more excitement recently was the sighting of a pair each of Limpkins and Rosette Spoonbills.
At the turn of this century Gatorland was designated as part of The Florida Birding Trail. You can find out more about the birding trail by accessing this website http://floridabirdingtrail. com/
Gatorland is found on the Orange Blossom Trail in Kissimmee.
Currently normal admission to the park is $22. 99 or a Grunt package is $29. 99. A Grunt Package includes admission to the park, umlimited train rides, food for the alligators and prority seating at the alligator wrestling.
You can also be ' A Trainer for the Day' for $125 and this allows you to get hands on with the animals.
You will find Gatorland on Hwy 441 just north of the Orlando - Kissimmee line in South Orlando, probably about half an hour from your vacation villa.
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