It is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, Gatorland is an affordable family attraction that lets guests see thousands of real alligators and crocodiles—including four very rare leucistic (white) alligators up close. The park also features a free-flight aviary, a petting zoo, a zipline ride, rookie gator wrestling, “trainer for a day” gator training lessons, live shows and more. Hours are 10 to 5 daily rain or shine. They have three different shows done several times a day.
The first show we went to was Gator Wrestling. The experts show us how to lasso a gator. They man handle them, but go on to explain that they have several years of experience. They open the gators mouth so we can see their teeth, but that is only for a second or two. When the show is over, you can sit on the back of the gator for $5.00. That does not include the price of the picture. However, mom and dad can stand outside the gate and take your picture. That is if they are really fast. This was a quick show and if you sit on the sides, you have a hard time seeing the stunts the training is performing. Try to sit on the side facing the front of the stage.
The second show was Upclose Encounters. I really liked the handlers that put on the show. They added a lot of humor. There were several boxes on stage with names and the audience had to pick the boxes to open. People were picked from the audience to help show off the animals. This was my second favorite show. Again, you could pay $5 to hold the animals after the show.
My favorite show, was Jumparoo. Bubba and Cooter fed the gators. They held the food high to make them jump. They had a contest between the two of them to see whose gator would jump the highest.
Between shows we had a great time meandering through the Swamp Walk. You could stop and watch all the birds and gators. I have never seen so many herons, egrets, and other birds in one place. You can walk all the way from the entrance to Flamingo Island, or you can take a small, slow train. We took the train on the way, but walked back. I recommend just walking. We did not see much on the train ride.
Other parts of the park included bobcats, large boas, pythons, giant tortoises, panthers, raccoon, several birds and emus. They also have a splash pad and playground.
It is definitely worth the price of $27 for ages 13 and up and $19 for 3 to 12. There is also a $2.50 coupon on their website.
Plan ahead, as there was a line when we got there. There are basically two areas for food and the one by the Gator Wrestling show was packed. The entrance area was less crowded, but they did not have the options of hamburgers and fries. This is a full day activity. My grand-kids range in age from 5 to 12 and they all loved it. Some had their pictures taken with the gator and some with the large boas.
We didn't do the zip lining, but it looked like a lot of fun.
Launch from heights of up to 65 feet
- Soar across five intense zip lines ranging in length from 230 feet to more than 500 feet, and carefully cross a swinging bridge over the park's main walkway.
- Fly at speeds near 30 miles per hour over alligators and crocodiles. Equipment (helmet, gloves and harness) provided.
Reservations are needed for this activity. It was voted best zip line in the USA by AOL travel.
Gatorland also has hotel packages, which seem quite reasonable, especially if you have a lot of kids.
I highly recommend this activity.