Gatorland was one of the first theme parks in Florida, opening its doors in 1949. Owned by the Godwin Family it has gradually expanded over the years to its present size of 110 acres. This is one of my favourite parks because it is not crowded, you can see the animals close up and you can wander around at your own pace with a lot of areas in the shade. We liked it so much that we have been a number of times during our recent holidays, it is so relaxing. It has a real homely feel about it. It starts as you arrive with the staff in the kiosks greeting you with their friendly chat and banter. One of the highlights is the jumparoo which is a bit cheesy but you can see the power and feeding habits of the alligators. All of the different shows are repeated a number of times during the day. Besides all the different alligators and crocodiles, there is a large number of birds that wait around for easy meals, normally from visitors trying to feed food to the gators. When you watch the alligators they appear to be fairly slow in their movements but catch them just right with food and they can turn in an instance. The boardwalk around the wetlands is intersting and we previously saw a sleeping snake as we walked around. For those who fancy the thrill there are a number of zip wires that can be used for an extra fee. The park is open daily from 1000 to 1700 hours and some show times can be changed depending on the weather.
Military UNFRIENDLY - http://www.gatorland.com/blogs/specials - is the location as of 02/03/2011 - they do NOT honor the military coupon posted to their own website. The coupon is out of date (june 2010 expiration). Even so, this is unacceptable. This website MUST be updated for those who make the 16 hour drive especially to see their facility. We even called to confirm before embarking on this vacation. When we arrived. They apparently have changed the pricing. We failed to get the name of the person we talked to, thus no one could help when we arrived onsite. When a coupon is posted to a business public website. First Take the coupon down when its not in use any more! Secondly even if the public makes a mistake, provisions should at least be made for a good review. The management and staff didn't even make an effort. Which is why we are leaving this review as "terrible". Your at your own risk when trying to plan and plot out this trip. At least we suggest have a backup in place when you attempt to visit them. You will need it.
Known as Gatorland Zoo when I was a kid, the slightly renamed Gatorland still offers guests the chance to watch thousands of alligators in a 110-acre preserve. The park opened in 1949, and it is still owned by the original family. I first visited this park in the mid 80s as a 10-year old, and it has stuck with me ever since. In fact I remember more about this little place than the entire three days of Disney World... and it was just a fraction of the cost.
We had an afternoon free and so decided to visit this small theme park, little did I know that by the end of our trip I would become an apprentice alligator wrestler!
This place is good family fun and makes a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the large parks. If you want to see, feed and wrestle with live alligators then this is the place to come.
We bought the Grunt package, which included entrance to the park, a chance to wrestle an alligator and some raw sausages to feed them with, although it's probably not a good idea to feed them whilst wrestling.
The animal shows were very well done by two of the keepers, who turned out to be very busy that day as they hosted most of the shows.
We took part in the alligator wrestling and it was amazing to see the alligator sent to sleep by simply putting it on its back by the trainer and than being woken up by a simple tickle!
Gatorland is one of the many themeparks in Orlando catering to animal preservation and nature protection.
They have animal shows (check brochure for schedules) which includes alligator wrestling, Gator Jumparoo and up close encounters.
They also have aquariums, aviary and petting zoo which you can explore. And if you're tired of walking the park you can purchase their ride-all-you can train badge for $2.00. The train runs through the whole thempark with designated stops. Kiosks and souvenir shops are also available.
Adult (13 & up): $22.95 + tax
Child (3-12): $14.95 + tax
Children under 3 are free
This place is amazing, the guys who work with the Gators seem to have no fear of these awesome creatures. Steve Irwin eat your heart out!
The park is a good half day out or a relaxed full day, there are lots of different pens where Gators do different " activities" there is Gator baiting, where a guy hangs over the edge with a chicken and the gators jump out to grab it, there are Gator wrestlers and a place where you can sit on a Gator and have you piccie taken!
A good fun park, some thrills and educational!
Gatorland- a brief summary- fascinating but soon becomes boring.
Seeing this many alligators and their natural behaviour in open spaces, and their interaction with the trainers was certainly fascinating, but once the novelty has passed, you find yourself feeling a little empty. Even with all the attractions and shows, you still feel like you've visited a zoo, but only got to see half of the animals. Not really worth it I'm afraid to say.
On one of your "easy" days take time to take the family to Gatorland. The kids will love it and the adults may find more there than they expect.
I was a bit worried about the Gator Wrestling I had heard of but in fact it was more of an educational thing and these creatures were in much better conditions than the ones swimming around rubbish polluted pools in some Crazy Golf venues.
Marvel at the quantity of birds nesting inches from your fingertips as you walk around the trails. Hold a large snake if you have the nerve - and I didn't!
Here you can see the gators being fed whole chickens, don't worry they're already dead.
The gators push off the pool bed with their powerful tails and jump to snatch the chicken out of their keepers hand, I wondered why most of the staff had fingers missing, LOL.
Well that was the theory, somebody forgot to tell the gators that when we went, they left the keepers holding the chickens.
Shows are on several times during the day.
Have your photo taken with a real alligator and snake.
Yes you can have your photo taken with a snake and a alligator, and believe me they are very real. I used to hate snakes so for me to have one wrapped round my neck was a big effort, I could still feel it for days afterwards.
Don't worry the gator has its' mouth taped up.
An unusual souvenier for a just few dollars.
An amazing display of handling with some dangeous snakes. If you want to take photographs you had better have a fast shutter speed and an even faster finger when the snake demonstrates it's striking power on a balloon, I couldn't manage it.
This person must be stupid or very brave to get in a sand pit with an alligator and try to wrestle it. But this is what he does and it's well worth a visit. It is amazing how the handler coaxes the gator into a submissive state, watch out though when he tickles his stomach.