Florida Guide > Places to Visit
Gatorland, on South Orange Blossom Trail, is ideal for a half day outing, although you can take longer and stay all day. It makes a great break from the busy, big theme parks. The huge, gaping gator jaws with big white teeth make an unmistakable entrance and set the scene for a visit to this 110 acre theme park, wildlife preserve and conservation area. There is plenty of family entertainment on offer with thousands of alligators and crocodiles to see, a boardwalk with observation tower, a swamp walk, a reptilian show, an aviary, a petting zoo and more.
The Gator Wrestlin’ show is well worth seeing. It takes place in a shaded 800 seater stadium where the gator ‘wrangler’ catches a huge alligator, wrestles with it, then climbs onto its back to point out various features to the amazed, or possibly horrified, audience! There is no faking with this show, and the wranglers are hot and sweaty by the end of it. Another great show is the Gator Jumparoo show where large alligators jump four or five feet out of the water to get food from the trainers’ hands. Again you will learn more about these fascinating creatures at this show.
Apart from shows you can see rare white gators, lots of different species of birds, snakes, fish, tortoises and many other creatures. There is a large aviary full of parakeets which you can feed while they fly around you. Feeding other creatures is a possibility too – you can buy hot dogs to feed to the alligators, carrots for the tortoises and various other foods for the fish and farm animals.
A walking trail takes visitors through a natural wildlife area which gives the feeling of what this part of the Orlando area must have been like before it was turned into a tourist destination when the swamps were drained.
Included in your admission is Gator Gully Splash Park which gives the opportunity for fun and cooling off – make sure you take your swimming costumes with you because the children will be disappointed if they see it, but can’t join in! It features a row of giant egrets with water spilling from their beaks, duelling water guns on the backs of two giant alligators and an old jalopy which is over run with water. Grandma’s Wet Shack is water-based fun for children of all ages to spend some time having fun.
If you are running out of steam and need refuelling, there is a restaurant or a snack bar where you can get sandwiches, salads, burgers and other snacks. . For a souvenir of your visit there is a gift shop which sells the usual tee shirts, plush toys and postcards.
I would definitely recommend a visit to Gatorland – it is an education as well as entertainment.
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Page added on: 16 February 2010
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