Florida Guide > Days Out
Gatorland is a great place to visit on the last day of your holiday as if you have an evening flight as it is a park you can go around in a few hours.
You will find Gatorland on the South Orange Blossom Trail; we usually travel along the 417 toll road from our villa to get to the Orange Blossom Trail.
Admission price is approx $20 for adults (13 years and over) and approx $13 for children aged 3 to 12 years. Be sure to look for discount vouchers before you go to the park because you can usually find vouchers to give you approx $2. 50 off each adult admission.
Gatorland is one of the older ‘theme parks’ in central Florida and I believe is still owned by the family who founded it. There was a very serious fire at the front of the building a few years ago and for a while there was a fear that it would never re-open. However much work has been done and it re-opened a couple of years later.
The entrance to the park is shaped as the open jaws of an alligator leading straight into a huge gift shop that sells all the usual tourist merchandise as well as a large selection of alligator leather goods. Here you can buy alligator skin goods, including handbags, belts, boots and wallets. If you want to just shop in the store you do not need to pay an admission charge.
The park claims to be the ‘Alligator Capital of the World’ but there are more than just alligators to see, it is also a wildlife preserve, contains a boardwalk, houses a petting zoo and presents several different animal shows in the 110 acre site, plenty to keep all the family entertained.
After buying tickets to the park the first area is Gator Island. This is where the majority of alligators and crocodiles are kept. You will see a palm tree which is situated in the middle of Gator Island, this gives much needed shade for the animals. You can also see here wild birds such as Snowy and Greater Egrets and Florida Grackals. Apparently there are also Mexican Free-Tail Bats, but they only come out at night!
The next part to visit is the Breeding Marsh and Bird Rookery. You can view the breading marsh from a three story wooden observation tower. Here you will find 130 alligators, mostly female, in one of the most natural settings in the park.
Jungle Crocs is the home to different types of crocodiles; you can see the large potential man eating Nile crocodiles, salt water crocodiles and the most dangerous and one of the fastest crocodiles; the Cuban crocodiles. This is quite a scary section.
You can walk along the wooden walkways that make up the Swamp Walk over Cypress swamp, the setting here is that of natural central Florida. Along the walk there is the chance to see what central Florida looked like before the logging and swamp draining took place. There are also loads of birdsand you may also see a turtle or a snake. You will enjoy this leisurely 15 minute walk.
If you have time there are also three shows, the Gator Jumparoo and Gator Wrestling which are spectator shows and the “Up-Close Encounters” where there is the chance for children and adults to get close to some of the animals, such as snakes and baby alligators.
Finally before you leave to get to the airport you can have your final Florida meal of gator nuggets in the parks restaurant!
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Page added on: 22 October 2009
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