What happens when you pile alligators on top of each other? You get tons of fun at Gatorland in Orlando, Florida. This is a great way to spend a day close to the beach without breaking the bank. No lines and lower crowds.
Is Gatorland Worth Visiting?
We visited Gatorland in August 2022. It is located at 14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837. Just east of Disney World and other Florida theme parks, it is tucked into a residential area. The entrance fee for a single day ticket is $39.99 per adult and $31.99 per child. As Florida residents, we took advantage of their half price promotion. Parking was free and easy. Gatorland is indeed worth visiting!
First Stop: Feed The Young Alligators
Fun Activities at Florida's Gatorland Orlando
Gatorland lives up to it's conservation claims as Florida’s leader in alligator safety and education since 1949®. They have hundreds of baby alligators, adults up to 14 feet in length and crocodiles. There are also many other animals to see, plus live shows, a train and a zip line. We will take you through our 4 hour experience at Gatorland. We started with the young alligators that visitors can feed with a fishing line. You can see a video of that by clicking here.
Feeding Large Alligators
As we progressed through the theme park, the alligators got larger! Some were up to 14 feet long. There were opportunities to feed them in the pond but the real excitement was the live feeding experience. Pay $10 and you can walk right in and come close to more than 20 large alligators waiting for your hand...I mean, chicken in your hand. These crazy people tossed chicken to these monsters while an attendant kept them at bay with a stick. Is it worth it? Judge for yourself on the video: you can view more here.
White Alligators at Gatorland
The are three albino alligators at Gatorland: Cottontail, Moonshine and Pearl. These beautiful, well-fed alligators really don't move much. This one finally opened its eyes for a photograph. Some have red eyes and some have blue eyes. It is fascinating and a bit freaky. Watch more about white alligators on this Gatorland video.
Florida Flamingos, Emus and Parrots
Is there anything more "Florida" than a pink Flamingo? We think not. There was a flock of them available to feed at Gatorland. Behind the Flamingo pond, if you look carefully, you will see a couple of capybaras in the shade. "Ben and Jerry" resemble large guinea pigs and are a new exhibit. There were also Macaw parrots that were very vocal. What else would you expect from a parrot? Lots of talking and mimicking goes on, which is no surprise since people are chatting with them every day. Check them out on video here. Don't get too close though, they can do serious damage with those beaks.
The emu compound is entertaining. These birds are quite interesting to look at with fuzzy heads, large eyes and ears. You can pay for pellets to feed them, but don't use your hands. These birds were a little aggressive so we just set the pellets down on the fence railing for them to pick up. All the food was gone in no time!
Goats in the Petting Zoo
The petting zoo had goats that were playing and butting heads. Children can enter the area and feed the goats, cows and emu. It gets pretty hot for the animals and they are often resting. There was also a Florida Bobcat exhibit but they were resting too. Orlando is hot in the summer.
Live Alligator Show
This show was fascinating. Talk about "getting gutsy" at Gatorland: this guy is brave! He educated the audience about alligators while demonstrating their various features. This included their teeth and jaws. After the show, guests can get a photograph taken with the alligator. Kids can also hold a baby alligator for a photograph.
Does Gatorland Have Rides?
Gatorland has a train ride and a zip line ride. They also offer a monster-style off-road vehicle adventure alongside the swamps that feed the headwaters of the Everglades. This is a true Florida experience. Gators and big trucks!
The Gator Night Shine tour is a popular Gatorland experience. We did not participate because we already live in the "real Florida". Alligators are a regular part of our lives (although not that big). Still, it sounds fun to travel the wooden walkway and see how active the alligators are at night. We think we'll stick to the beach!
Turtles, Iguanas and Snakes
The turtles are huge at Gatorland. They are actually tortoises from the Galapagos Islands and weigh over 200 lbs. These tortoises live to be over 100 years old. You have to see them to believe the size of them. These animals can be hand-fed by visitors at different times of the day. They have their own habitat and shower area to relax in.
What We Really Think About Gatorland
Gatorland in Orlando is close to the Atlantic Ocean beaches in Florida. If you and your family want a beach break day with something different to do, this is it! You won't experience anything like this ever again. It is truly memorable. Gatorland does everything right. Not only do they have lots of shady areas and fans, they have a super splash pad for kids. Food and drinks are affordable and parking is free. This budget-friendly Florida theme park is a hit for the entire family, or even for couples like ourselves.
Gatorland is an hour or so away from Daytona Beach Shores, New Smyrna Beach, Ormond Beach and Melbourne Beach. It is a longer drive from Tampa Bay, but still within reach of Clearwater Beach, Anna Maria Island and St. Pete Beach. Get out of the sun for a day and enjoy the natural Florida wildlife in Gatorland. Afterward, have dinner nearby in Orlando at Island Wing Company, Cracker Barrel or Pienezza Pizza.
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers. We write about Florida beaches on every coast. Our opinions only.