Five Reasons to visit Gatorland, Orlando
If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the theme parks in Orlando then visiting Gatorland is a must for all the family. It was such a great day out. Truly memorable. With so much to see and do. One to add to your planning for sure. We spent half a day stomping around Gatorland, taking in the shows, feeding Gators and so much more. The park had such a really lovely feel to it. Traditional, family run with a calm yet really fun vibe. The perfect down day in between visiting theme parks.
A little background…
Gatorland is a 110 acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining “Old Florida” charm with exciting new exhibits and entertainment. The park prides itself on offering affordably-priced family fun featuring thousands of alligators, crocodiles, native and endangered birds, a flight aviary, breeding marsh with observation tower, petting zoo, a splash park, the ‘Up-Close Encounter’ shows, the Gator Zip Line and so much more. Gatorland also contains the largest collection of leucistic “white” alligators in the world. We were lucky enough to meet Pearl, a beautiful Albino Gator. More on that encounter later.
And so I thought I would share our review of the park and five reasons to visit Gatorland…
1. Free-flight Aviary
As part of our visit we were guided into the Aviary which was very unexpected. George couldn’t wait. We were instructed to shoop, shoop our feet across the floor so as not to hurt any of the birds. They were so beautiful, colourful, so many variations and full of so much life. They flew around the aviary landing on branches, the floor and parts of the enclosure. It was so lovely to just stand still and watch mother nature. We held out bird food sticks and waited for them to land. George couldn’t quite stand the feet scratching his skin but enjoyed the experience.
2. Screamin’ Gator Zipline
An optional extra not to be missed. The boys loved it. I held my breath watching and breathed a huge sigh of relief when they landed safely. Since planning our trip George had quite literally been counting down the days. He loves to ride a zipline and so the thought of doing that whilst being hoisted up in the air whizzing over a swamp full of gators was high on his list! 1,200 feet of high flying thrills, five intense zip lines, and a massive 150-foot suspension bridge – this is definitely one for the thrill seekers.
We only took part in the one zipline which took 20 minutes, although if we were to visit again the boys would love to do the full tour. I remember thinking there won’t be gators in the water, but yes, yes there was and they were huge. And hungry I am sure. George didn’t quite realise that he was too high for them to reach him and kept his little legs bent the whole journey.
Five Reasons to visit Gatorland, Orlando
Belly laughs, lots of belly laughs at the show we watched. There were big and small animals un boxed and shared with the audience – well actually just the unlucky ones like me that were picked out to take part. Oh my goodness, holding the head of a humongous snake was definitely a moment I won’t forget. I only wish I had a photo to share with you. I would highly recommend you catching the shows. Snakes, insects and other exotic birds and animals from all over the world were incorporated into this comical, interactive experience where package handlers explore the unexpected at every turn. A must watch.
4. Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure
At Gatorland you can now board one of three, 12-foot-high off-road monster trucks like vehicles for a 15-minute rugged and hilarious adventure. These trucks were huge and if truth be told a little too rough for me, I held on for dear life and couldn’t wait until the end. Whereas the boys thought the journey was hilarious and loved the tales the driver told as we made our way around the swamp. There are Gatorland characters dotted around the track, an entertaining tour guide and lots of alligators. Additional charges do apply for this Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure attraction.
5. Meeting & Feeding Gators and other animal experiences
This was our first task as we arrived into the park and I would highly recommend paying the few dollars to pick up some food, grab a fishing line and away you go. George fed the 2-4 year old Gators who dare I say it were so cute. They were. He actually held one a similar age (see below). We were also lucky enough to be escorted into the den of Pearl who is a rare Albino alligator. She was so beautiful but oh my goodness she was so incredibly large. Looking back I don’t know why or where we mustered up the courage from to go in to her den. What an experience.
Most of the animals, some of the gators and wildlife have been rescued and will live out their lives at Gatorland due to being endangered. The team at Gatorland are so passionate about providing this space for them to exist. I was amazed by the information Danny was able to share with us, about his passion for caring for these animals as well as having fun all along the way. We met a tortoise who didn’t really want to chat on the day we visited but eventually showed us his beautiful face and made George very happy. Many animals later it was time to move onto the monster of all rides. I’ll never forget it.
And so, that’s our Five Reasons to visit Gatorland, Orlando. Do let me know if you visit and what your favourite part of your day was. And if you are visiting the Disney, Seaworld and Universal Parks you can read all about our experiences on my Travel page.