Gatorland, A Wildlife Attraction Awaits You In Orlando

By: Mark Whichard

If you are fascinated by the tropical wildlife of Florida and want to see it at firsthand, then Gatorland is the place for you to visit the next time you vacation in Orlando. This park calls itself the alligator capital of the world, and it rightly deserves this title. Here is a brief guide to what you can expect when you visit there.

First of all, Gatorland is located on Hwy 441 at the Orlando-Kissimmee line in South Orlando. Only 15-20 minutes away from Walt Disney World®, Sea World® and the Orlando International Airport the park is open daily 9:00 am until 6:00 pm.

The park is a combines the features of a zoo and wildlife preserve with the entertainment of a theme park. You can see alligators in the wild at the Alligator Breeding Marsh, ten acres of natural habitat populated with 100 female and 25 male gators and get a birds-eye view from a three-story observation tower.

You can get a closer look at these critters by attending the various shows at the park. A popular event is the Gator Jumparoo Show. Here is how the park describes it: "Thrills and chills abound as some of the largest alligators in the world actually jump four to five feet out of the water to retrieve food in this famous one-of-a-kind show. Watch as giant alligators jump high enough out of the water to actually snatch food from the trainer's hand."

The show also has educative value as you will learn more about the alligators and crocodiles and their capabilities.

Another exciting attraction is the Alligator Wrestlin' show which is held an 800 seat stadium. Gator wranglers catch 6-8 feet alligators by hand, climbing on the back to point out survival features to the audience. After doing stunts that only a few are brave (or foolish) enough to try, the alligator is rolled over and put to sleep...only to be awakened by a tickle!

Alligators are not the only attraction of this park; the snakes of Florida are also on display. Another show features the bloodcurdling rattle of the diamondback , the hiss of the powerful moccasin, the sneaky, deadly little corals. The park says that "this show will help you get over your fears of Florida's most misunderstood species!"

Another popular feature of the park is Lilly's Pad a new Mini-Waterpark where kids of all ages can cool off and dip their feet in the water.

If you enjoy nature walks the park is quie large and its Swamp Walk is a unique nature walk through a native cypress swamp. While waking keep your eyes open for Florida wildlife, birds, and other swamp critters.

Allie's Barnyard is a petting zoo with baby animals who love to be petted and fed! And speaking of petting, you can also get up close and hold a python and a snake and get your photo taken too.

As you can see, there are plenty off attractions at Gatorland and you can plan to spend about three hours here. Bring your camera, some water and snacks and enjoy the afternoon or morning at one of Orlando's stand-out vacation spots.

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