Florida Guide > Other Activities
Gatorland - A Relaxing Alternative to the Parks!
If you’re sick of the parks would like to get a taste of the real Florida, go to Gatorland! We went in May, and what a great place it is! Much more than just alligators, the property is over 100 acres. We started off walking on the boardwalk, where we could see all sizes and shapes of alligators, as well as lots of native birds - egrets, wood storks, ibis. Gatorland is one of the only places in Florida where you can legally feed the alligators (because they are in a contained environment, not running wild in someone’s back yard! ). My husband took full advantage of this. Alligators love chicken hot dogs! It is amazing to see a 14 foot gator rise out of the water.
We moved on to the many wildlife exhibits that Gatorland offers. One of the most fun was feeding the sweet little birds called Lorikeets. They only consume a diet of nectar, pollen, and fruit and visitors are allowed to enter their enclosure and feed them this. The birds will sit on your shoulder. You will feel a part of the flock!
For young children, there is a petting area called Allie’s Barnyard, with many cute and cuddly animals to interact with. Also, they have just opened a splash park, which will be great for getting cool during those hot summer visits!
There are also good old-fashioned alligator shows, with alligators jumping, alligator wrestling, and, if you’re brave, you can get your picture taken sitting on a gator! It’s all very safe, for visitors and alligators alike. The people who run this park always show their basic respect and love for all of the animals here.
But, I have saved the best for last - the Breeding Marsh and Bird Rookery. This most amazing place allows you to see hundreds of birds and alligators in their natural habitat, while you walk leisurely through the 10 acre area on a boardwalk. We went there in early May, which is the most incredible time to go. All the birds are nesting, with eggs or babies already hatched. As we walked along the boardwalk, we were 4 feet away from seeing the baby birds and their parents. There were ibis, wood storks, egrets, herons, cormorants, and others. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a wood stork - they are like old men with long beaks!
My husband and I will be going back to Gatorland next time we are in Florida, and definitely next May! The tickets are very reasonably priced ($23 for adults, $15 for kids), and it is easy to travel to. You can go to their website for more information. Hope you visit there. You will have a great time!
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Page added on: 13 October 2007
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The following photos have been submitted by our villa owners for this article.