Gatorland

At 14501 South Orange Blossom Trail, just between Orlando and Kissimmee, enter the realm of the famous Florida Gator at Gatorland.  Gatorland Orlando is the “Alligator Capital of the World”, and this classic Florida attraction has been pulling in tourists for over 50 years.  At Gatorland Florida, the experience is a break from the more “typical” theme parks of Central Florida, and it offers a unique diversion for families and animal lovers alike.  Founded in 1949 by the late Owen Godwin, Gatorland is still owned and operated by his family to this day.  Gatorland Orlando Florida is one of the state’s oldest attractions and its classic charm is accentuated by an array of new exhibits and exciting entertainment.  Among the attractions found at Gatorland Orlando are thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with a boardwalk and observation tower, reptilian shows, an aviary, a petting zoo, and a swamp walk.  You’ll also find educational programs that will have you feeling like an alligator expert by the time you head out the doors.

There are a total of three shows at Gatorland Florida that are truly entertaining.  They are Gator Jumparoo, Gator Wrestlin’ and Upclose Encounters.  Gator Jumparoo is truly a one-of-a-kind show that gives viewers an idea of just how powerful alligators and crocodiles really are.  As a trainer extends his handful of food over a dark lagoon, some of the largest alligators on the planet jump four to five feet out of the water to catch a bite.  You wonder just how daring the trainer must be to tempt such large creatures. 

But when it comes to daring, perhaps Gator Wrestlin’ takes top honors here.  In this show, alligator wranglers catch a 6 to 8 foot alligator by hand and sit on its back while they point out the interesting survival features of the reptile.  Guests then watch from their shaded seats in a 800 seat stadium as a brave trainer executes a series of stunts with the dangerous animal, before rolling it over and lulling it to sleep.  The alligator is then promptly awakened with a bit of a tickle.  Brings to mind images from “Crocodile Dundee”.

The third show found at Gatorland Florida is dubbed Upclose and Personal, as it involves encountering an array of animals, well, up close.  Don’t worry, however, this doesn’t mean that you are required to wrestle any gators yourself, unless maybe you want to.  In this exhibit, you will have the chance to meet some intriguing creatures from around the world, including some native Florida wildlife.  Indiana Jones would likely skip this show, as some of the most dangerous snakes alive are part of the featured alignment.

In case a youngster in your group is having a birthday during your trip to Orlando, there are two birthday party packages at Gatorland Florida that will surely guarantee to be memorable.  Each package offers admission for up to 10 children and 2 adult chaperones.  Straws, piñatas and balloons are not allowed, but you are welcome to bring the other necessities and don’t worry about the cake, because with each package an exclusive Gatorland birthday cake in chocolate or vanilla is supplied. 

Gatorland Orlando is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine.  There is ample parking, and long lines and crowds are not what you will find at Gatorland.  Voted Best Florida NonMajor Attraction in 2003, Gatorland Orlando is affordable at only $22.95 for ages 13 and over, and $14.95 for children 3-12 years old.  Showtimes vary by season, but repeat several times each day.

Gatorland enjoys a great location that is close to a fine array of Orlando hotels and Kissimmee hotels that will satisfy your lodging needs during your central Florida vacation.  Animal lovers who enjoy Gatorland for its animal appeal and unique attractions will likely find  trips to Cypress Gardens and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to be equally as unique and enjoyable side trips in Central Florida.

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