Florida Guide > Places to Visit
If you love animals and you want somewhere to go for just a half a day, give Gatorland ago located on US 441, South Orange Blossom Trail, near the Orland/Kissimmee border, the entire family found it an amazing place.
We arrived at the park around just before it opened and found only one other family in front of us, be sure to take a discount coupon with you, which you can find in one of the many discount brochures in all of the shopping areas in Orlando and at the airports, our coupon was for $2. 50 off the price of an adult ticket, it’s not too expensive anyway.
As you entered the park, through the gaping mouth of alligator, you find yourself standing on a large deck that winds its way over the water, you’ll notice many eyes of alligators looking out from over the water, you can purchase hot dogs to feed them. You can also look into tanks that contain different types of turtles and crocodiles, basking in the sunshine.
High-tech it’s not, we’re talking raw nature here, you have a choice of 3 shows to take in, “Gator Jumparoo”, “Gator Wrestlin” or “Upclose Animal Encounters”, the shows last about 15 minutes.
Gator Jumparoo involves some very large alligators jumping four or five feet out of the water to grab whole chickens from the trainers hand. You learn interesting facts about alligators and crocodiles and the tremendous power they have. Watching the alligators come from all over the park for this event is quite a sight to see.
In an 800 seat stadium, the Gator Wrestlin’ takes place, using his bare hands, a professional Gator Wrangler grabs a 6 foot plus alligator and proceeds to do all sorts of tricks with it, such as holding its mouth open with his chin and climbing onto its back to point out some interesting features. At the end of the show, you can have your picture taken on the back of an alligator.
At Upclose Animal Encounters you get to see different animals from all over the world as well as Florida’s native wildlife, scorpions, rattlesnakes and a huge python you can get to touch, are just some of the creatures.
There is also a very pleasant train ride around the park and if you’re feeling hungry you can purchase some gator nuggets or gator ribs from the snack shop and yes, they are made from alligators. We were not that hungry, but apparently it tastes a bit like chicken.
A gift shop near the exit contains all the usual sorts of fluffy toys and souvenirs plus loads of alligator related stuff.
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