After a morning airboat tour and seeing a ton of gators in there own environment, you may ask, “What should I do next while I’m in Florida”? Why not just make it a full out gator themed day and hit up Gatorland. I’m not a huge fan of gators, but I still wanted to go and check out the park, to see what it was all about. After you purchase your tickets, which are really reasonably priced, around $20 or so, depending on if you were able to find them discounted online or had a coupon, which you can often find in Florida tourism guides…the price is right around that range. You really can’t beat the price for something to do for part of the day.
You walk into the park and of course you expect gators, but I guess I wasn’t expecting so many! That had them in all sizes ranging from babies to great big gators, like Chester, who was a bit camera shy, so I only got a shot of him from behind, but even so…you can tell he was huge! They even had albino gators, which I had never seen before, so it was kind neat seeing an all white gator.
Besides gators, the park also has plenty more to offer. There is a petting zoo, an aviary, snakes, flamingo exhibit & a few shows. The first show I got to watch was the gator wrestling show, in which the guy gets in this arena type sand pit that is surrounded by a trench of water along the sides. When I got to the area and took a seat on the bleachers all of the gators were up on the sand sunning themselves & working on there tans. Then the guy gets in the arena with them all pulls them each one by one by there tail and plops them in the water. Then they had a little boy pic a gator from around the edge for him to catch and pull into the arena with him. Not something I would want to do. It took him a sec to grab the gator as he was fast & tried to get away. Once the gator was pulled into the sand pit, the trainer proceeded to tell us random facts about gators & then did some crazy stunts like holding the gators snout between his chin and his chest…no hands! No way would I want to try that….Yikes! I’ll leave that one to the professionals!
Then after the show people who had paid the extra to get there picture taken with a gator up close and personal could get in line to do so. Yes, I was one of the crazies that wanted a pic with the gator, although I refused to sit on him. The trainer kept saying just to sit down & that I couldn’t hurt him, but I still opted to take a knee so I didn’t sit on him. I wouldn’t want anyone sitting on me…lol. So I extended the gator the same courtesy. 🙂
After that, I headed towards the shack where you could get some gator food (A.K.A. Hotdogs) It really cracked me up when I got to the booth, because there were two huge white birds just chilling out like they were waiting in line. Once I got the hotdogs and was told to guard them with my life because the area birds weren’t shy about taking them from you. So as you walk down the dock to the observation area where you can throw in your hotdogs, its kind of weird because she wasn’t joking about those birds. They were lined on both sides of you…some of the bigger ones were following you. It was like a little bird mafia…haha. Anyways, once I was at the end I was able to throw in the hotdogs, trying to get them to the gators before the birds could get them. There was one sneaky bird standing behind me trying to get those hotdogs, I finally shooed him away as he was making me nervous.
Then there was a nice size flamingo exhibit. They are such pretty birds. In with the flamingos, there was some other sort of big black bird. I’m not sure what it was exactly, but they were kind of creepy. Every single one of them just stood still with there wings completely extended. It was very odd.
If you’ve got kids, besides the petting zoo, there is a train that will take you around the whole park. There is also a little water park area for kids to play in, which would be great on a hot Florida day. The other show that they have is the Jumperoo Show, in which two guys compete to see who can get a gator to grab there chicken first. They split the audience into teams and get each side rooting for their guy. It’s entertaining and they guys are pretty funny.
All in all, Gatorland is a good place to go to spend a half day and learn some things you might not have know about gators. On your way out of the park, you exit through there gift shop if there are any gator souvenirs you may want to take back home. My favorite thing that I saw, were the “Redneck Wine Glasses”, which was basically a small wide mouth mason jar super glued to a candle stick holder….Haha! Genius! Why didn’t I think of that!