Long before Walt Disney World, there was Gatorland. Through the monstrous aqua, gator-jaw doorway (a definite photo-op) lie thrills and chills in the form of thousands of alligators and crocodiles, swimming and basking in the Florida sun. In addition to the gators and crocs, there is a zoo that houses many other reptiles, mammals, and birds. A free train ride provides an overview of the park, and a three-story observation tower overlooks the breeding marsh, which is swamped with gator grunts, especially come sundown during mating season.
the Gator "Jumparoo" Show, in which gators leap out of the water
for their food. The best is the first one in the morning, when the gators
are hungriest. There's also a Gator Wrestling Cracker-style Show, and
though there's no doubt who's going to win the match, it's still fun to
see the handlers take on those tough guys with the beady eyes.
In the educational
Snakes of Florida Show, high drama is provided by the 30-40 rattlesnakes
that fill the pit around the speaker. Don't look for scrupulous Disney-style
cleanliness here, and the personnel aren't polished with pixie dust either.
This is a real Florida experience, and you'll walk out those aqua gator
jaws knowing the difference between a gator and a croc.