Welcome to Orlando’s Alligator Capital of the World, Gatorland.
If your planning a visit or trip to Orlando, Florida soon then you must come check out Gatorland.
This world known Orlando attraction destination lives and breaths gators and I’m not talking about a handful, I’m talking thousands. Gatorland is the home to many different types of alligators and crocodiles including four of their rare leucistic white alligators.
Gatorland first opened their doors in 1949.as the Florida Wildlife Institute, after a few years of changing it’s name, it was in 1954 when Gatorland was named. Considering that Gatorland was first of it’s kind back then, it was also considered to be the first major attraction in Orlando,Florida.
I’m sure you might recognize their signature enormous gator jaw, Did you know that millions of visitors have stood or walk through that one of a kind entrance?
They sure have!
If your thinking, is this attraction just about alligators? That answer would be no. Believe it or not, Gatorland is an 110 acre theme park that also is called home to tons of wading birds, snakes, bobcats, livestock, tortoises and panthers.
Once you have made that grand entrance into the Gatorland park, you will instantly see alligators just lounging around. I mean who wouldn’t if this was your home and if you were an alligator. Surrounding themselves with Florida’s finest wetlands and everglades, these amazing creatures truly know how to “bask” in the Florida sun.
As we were walking through a covered bridge area, we noticed a Gatorland employee that was holding what to appear to me as a gator/snake. It was very unique to say the least. My son was bold enough and wanted to touch it. My daughter on the other hand backed away from fear. For myself and the brave mom that I pretend to be, I rubbed the back of this amazing creature. I was kinda amused by the texture of his skin. It was actually soft and smooth.
Walking through these covered bridge areas you find alligators of all kinds of lengths and sizes. Some just “beach” themselves on platforms and water edges. As we turned the corner, we seen one alligator that was straight out relaxing on the platform. As you can see from the picture below he was enormous in size. I will openly admit when I first glanced at it, I thought it was fake until I seen him breathing.
Next, we came across these beautiful tropical parrots just perching within arms reach of us. For myself, I am amazed. For my older son that is not a fan of birds, well he stayed at the exit of this exhibit. For the rest of my family we enjoyed watching how these birds interacted with each other and how well trained they were. My husband and I honestly thought that some of these birds were actually posing so we could take a picture of them. It was quite amusing.
Aren’t they just beautiful!
As we continued onto our walking tour, we came across a sign that says “Come see the White Gators”. Honestly, we didn’t know what to expect until we turned the corner and seen these rare and very white eucistic alligators behind the glass walls. Gatorland has 4 white gators to be exact. Some weighing over 800 pounds and over eleven feet in length. These very large reptiles have blue eyes which also makes them unique.
We came across this awesome free-flight aviary. Some of my children hesitated at first to go in and check it out because the parakeets where flying everywhere but for me, It was an up close experience that I did not want to miss. Given the option to purchase a stick covered with bird food for a $1 was so worth it.
When I say these little guys were flying everywhere they were! One of the rules of walking around in the aviary was to slide your feet flatly on the ground. The reason is, these small birds are also walking on the floor and the last thing anyone wants is to injure these beautiful birds. So being cautious of your surroundings is very important. Once my kids seen what was happening, they absolutely loved it even my older son who is not fond of birds was in there feeding them.
At one point, I had these parakeets surrounding my feet as they were pecking at my shoes. I will say, they didn’t hurt me and it truly made me giggle while it was happening.
Now here are two birds just roaming around and enjoying the landscape. Every time that I see a peacock, I am in total awe. I can sit there and watch them for hours. He was one friendly guy flexing his tail feathers/train and strutting his stuff. He also was posing for the camera which made this an unbelievable and colorful photo shot.
Gatorland offers three incredible shows in their park. While your there check out the Gator Jumparoo Show. I do recommend arriving early to get a great standing room only spot. This show brings you closer to large alligators as you watch them jump up and grab food from the trainers hands. Totally remarkable!
Check out the Up Close Encounters which features some of most dangerous snakes alive.
Also, I do recommend checking out the Gator Wrestling show. Prior to show time, you can purchase and have your picture taking by sitting on top of a very live alligator for an additional $10.
The Gator Wrestling show showcases alligators between 6 to 8 feet long. Once selected, the Gator wranglers will pick up the alligator by hand then hop onto his back to demonstrate survival features to the crowd. He also includes stunts in the show by holding up the gators head by his own jaw. It was amazing to sit and watch him.
If your still looking for an adventure after viewing the exhibits and shows then I must suggest you live on the wild side and go zipling on the Screamin’ Gator.
Standing over seven stories tall, these amazing towers with breathtaking views will have you zipping and flying high of 1,200 feet. During the journey will you zoom across Gatorland’s Breeding Marsh and more.
If planning on zooming on the Screamin’ Gator Zipline then I suggest you read the requirements before hand on their website.
The Breeding Marsh is the headquarter for breeding. The name says it all. During your stroll on the boardwalk you will view a marshland filled of stress free alligators that are looking to start a family. By visiting the observation tower, you will get a chance to view the alligators below and also feed the local fish in the water.
With thousands of birds nesting above the marsh, this area becomes a great place to observe and bird watch. As my family and I were walking, we heard noises coming from a tree and that is when we seen a mother feeding her young it was remarkable to see.
During our travels we also observed two gators getting “friendly”. It was actually interesting to see how these two interacted with each other and they honestly looked like two love birds with one gator having his head on top of the other swimming around.
At the end of our visit, we decided to take some pictures of how much fun it was for the kids and us adults too.
Overall, Gatorland is consider a half day attraction. We were able to see everything that we wanted to in about 4 hours which left us with enough time to return home at a decent time. As you might of known, some of the other attractions located in the Orlando area sometimes takes a full day or maybe two just to see everything. So having that extra time available is great specially when your vacationing.
If your looking to get a bite to eat or refreshing cool drink while your visiting Gatorland then you must stop by Pearl’s Smokehouse. If your interested in trying out some fried gator then this is your spot. Honestly, the prices were reasonable and affordable for families. There are many sitting areas around the park and food venues including the kids water playground.
Looking for some souvenirs to remember your visit at Gatorland? As your heading out, check out their gift shop. You will find tasteful and unique gift items for sale along with gator designed belts and stuffed gator animals for the kids.
For more information about Gatorland and hours of operation, please visit their website.
Adults: 13 years old and up $26.99 Day Pass
Children: 12 years old and under: $18.99 Day Pass
Children under the age of 3 are Free
If your one that loves the night life then experience the Gator Night Shine.
This guided tour is 1 to 1.5 hours long $19.99 pp
Florida Residents take advantage of their annual pass or 50% off daily passes until April 30th, 2015.
Thanks for Visiting!
Sunshine & Flip Flops was compensated for this advertisement by receiving free admission tickets in exchange of this review All experiences and opinion are my own. This article is in no way associated with, sponsored or endorsed by facebook, twitter, pinterest or any other social media outlet. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10CFR Part 255 Guides/Concerns the use of endorsements and testimony of advertising. For questions and concerns email Michele @Mdickerson316@gmail.com