Queue the mini violins. I never visited Florida as a child. Hubs, on the other hand visited with his dad and sister when he was a teenager. When either he or his sister discuss that trip, Gatorland always comes up as one of the highlights.
For more than 60 years, Gatorland has been creating Fun, Smiles, and Special Memories for millions of visitors who have entered through its world-famous gator mouth entrance.
Located between Orlando and Kissimmee on the South Orange Blossom Trail, Gatorland is one of Central Florida’s classic attractions, and provides a unique and natural alternative to the larger theme parks of today. Founded by the late Owen Godwin in 1949, and still privately owned by his family today, Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining “Old Florida” charm with exciting, new exhibits and entertainment, making us Orlando’s best half day attraction®.
Known internationally as the “Alligator Capital of the World ®,” Gatorland provides affordable family fun showcasing thousands of alligators and crocodiles including four extremely rare leucistic “white” alligators. The free-flight aviary, petting zoo, one of a kind animal shows, natural alligator breeding marsh, and the “thrilling” Screamin’ Gator Zip Line will ensure your day will be filled with Fun, Smiles and Special Memories!
Now, Chelsea and I both have our own Gatorland memories, lots of them! From getting the grand tour of Gatorland from Tim, the ‘Dean of Gator Wrestling’ (who, we discovered joined the Gatorland team the same year as Brent’s last visit – 1991):
To Chelsea having a baby gator on her head:
Or being right in there with the big gators feeding them some lunch:
One of the memories I wish I could forget? Trying Gator Nuggets… but I can say that I tried:
Are there rides at Gatorland? No. Well, yes. It depends on if you count gator wrangling as a ride:
Along with the Gator Wrestlin’ Show, there are daily performances of the Gator Jumparoo Show and the Up Close Encounters Show… all of them worth the price of admission. Speaking of admission, Gatorland is probably the best bang for your buck in all of Central Florida. While (for the sake of full disclosure) we received complimentary admission to Gatorland, an adult day pass is only currently $26.99, and kids 3-12 are only $18.99 (plus coupons are available on the Gatorland website). There are some add-ons available (like it is $10 to participate in the Rookie Wresting, plus more if you’d like to buy their photos. It is also $10 for Adventure Hour, where you go feed the big boys up close and personal – again, any professional photos are extra, but you are free to take your own. Both of these experiences are well worth the cost). One big experience that is available for an additional fee at Gatorland that we didn’t opt into is Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, voted ‘Best Zip Line in the USA’ by AOL Travel. Now, to make it even better, Gatorland recently made the course wheelchair accessible with the addition of the Gator Gauntlet. Yay for inclusivity!
While Gatorland is considered a half-day attraction, we easily spent the whole day there even without the Zip Line, and could have gone back for more (and will some day). Besides all the gator fun and shows, we explored the aviary and petting zoo, visited the playground, rode the train around the park and just simply enjoyed the beautiful Florida nature. There is also a kid’s splash area, which was being refurbished when we visited, but it was a bit too chilly that day anyway.
After a while crocodile!
These are just some of the reasons why we think Gatorland is a must-do attraction while you are in the Orlando area. The park has stood the test of time… visit and you’ll understand why.
We’d really like to thank the staff and management of Gatorland for making our visit so special, you really went out of your way to make us feel welcome and your love for your park truly shone through. We will be back!
For more information on Gatorland:
14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, Florida 32837
Phone: (407) 855-5496 or (800) 393-5297