Jason Daniel Shaw
Alligator Capital of the World
Gatorland – Orlando, FL
Gatorland has been said to be the “alligator capital of the world” and while I am not an alligator expert, they do live up to that title in my eyes. They have over 2,000 alligators but they also have crocodiles, bobcats, panthers, tortoises and a bunch of birds and snakes throughout their 110-acre theme park. Through various shows such as alligator wrestling and rides like Screamin’ Gator Zip Line and Stompin’ Gator Off Road Adventure, Gatorland sure keeps their guests entertained. Since 1949, Gatorland has been privately owned and keeping tourist wowed with these giant reptiles. Part of the park was even used during filming of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The birds of the park really run the place. See how many you can spot as you walk around showing their dominance over the alligators.
Gatorland – Florida Resident
Growing up in Ocala and with grandparents living in Kissimmee, I had always heard a lot about Gatorland and even driven passed it too many times to count, but I had never been inside. This last trip to Florida changed that. Amanda had never seen an alligator, despite living in Dayton Beach for 6 months, so that made Gatorland a must-visit place. My family, including my 3-year old niece decided to join us. Gatorland had a special for Florida residents for 1/2 off admission which made the visit even better.
While it may be a bit of a stretch calling Gatorland a theme park with the likes of Disney and Universal just down the street, they do hold their own, especially for out-of-state visitors that may or may not have seen an alligator in person. The animals that the park uses as its main draw is just part of what visitors will experience. There is a zip line, named the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, that gives you a bird’s-eye view of the park as you fly over alligators and crocodiles. The Stompin’ Off Road Adventure takes you through some of the swamplands aboard one of the swamp buggies. There is also the Adventure Hour tour which takes you into the Alligator Breeding Marsh for an up-close look at these prehistoric creatures.
The alligators were definitely the highlight of the trip. With all sorts of ages and sizes, they provided as much calculated adventure as you could stand. We experienced the Gator Wrestlin’ Show, my niece even got the chance to sit on an alligator and have her picture taken, something that Gatorland calls Rookie Wrestling. She wasn’t too happy about that, though. The final show that we saw was the Gator Jumparoo Show where they feed the gators from lines that run across the pond. The gators have to jump out of the water to get the food and the crowd cheers them on. If you have never been, it is worth a visit or if you have never seen an alligator in real life, you must go. If you are looking for other adventures or want to possibly see an alligator in the wild, check out my post about Silver Springs. Let me know if you have been and/or what you think either in the comments below or on Instagram.