Gatorland Florida theme park and wildlife preserve sits just 15 minutes from the larger parks, and is absolutely worth a visit. This park is the original themed park in Orlando, sitting among two swamps since 1949. Get ready for down-home family fun at “The Alligator Capital of the World®” – Gatorland!
I was a guest of Gatorland Florida and received free admission, however all opinions are my own.
There isn’t a better place to see alligators of all sizes, from babies, to the 14-foot giants that call the Breeding Marsh home. I cannot believe with as many visits I have made to Orlando that we have never visited Gatorland. This park reminds me of old Florida, but in a good way. I bet you didn’t know Gatorland is more than just a gator park. They have free-flight aviary, petting zoo, one-of-a-kind animal shows, a Splash Park, the thrilling Screamin’ Gator Zip Line and the all new Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure. You can enjoy a full day of family fun at Gatorland.
The park is beautiful, and woven among 110 acres of two Central Florida swamps. The one thing that really stood out to me is that all of the pathways and pavilions are covered and have fans running to keep guests cool during their experience.
Gators, Gators Everywhere
Gatorland has thousands of alligators throughout the park, including everything from baby alligators to massive alligators that have been captured from local areas. As you enter the park, you are immediately greeted by the young gators lounging in the sun.
Did you know that Gatorland isn’t just a park to show off Gators, but a sanctuary for them? At one point, alligators were almost extinct in Florida and on the endangered species list. The parks real goal is to educate guests about the Gators, and to ensure that those who are getting too big for ponds and lakes around Florida or causing nuisances in people’s backyards can have a safe home to live out their lives. This park is now home to over 2000 gators, I personally think living out their days in the open breeding marsh is a much better option than ending up on a trappers wall.
White Gator Swamp is a new habitat and home to leucistic brothers Ferris Zombi, and Trezo Je. They’re two of only 12 leucistic alligators known to exist in the world today. Did you know, leucism is a partial loss of pigmentation, which can make the animal have white or patchily colored skin? I didn’t know that until my visit!
The best way to learn about these amazing animals to catch a show! Shows are included with park admission and you can grab a times guide when you enter. All arenas are outside, and have social distancing markers on the seats.
Alligators: Legends of the Swamp– Watch as one of the bravest daredevils at Gatorland takes the stage with a 6-8 foot alligator in order to demonstrate the amazing survival features of this legendary creature! This show is not to be missed! After the show you can meet a gator up close.
Up Close Encounters– You never know what kind of animal you might meet during this show. Befriend fascinating creatures from around the globe, including some of the most dangerous snakes alive!
There is no shortage of fun to be had at Gatorland that’s for sure. From the little ones, to the thrill seekers in your family everyone will squeal with delight.
Adventure Hour- For $10 per person you can go deep into the swamp and get up close and personal with a few friends. Ok, not really deep into it, but you do get REALLY close to the gators. During this behind the scenes tour you will have the opportunity to safely venture within a few feet of hungry, giant alligators and create a thrilling feeding frenzy.
Participants are given gloves to handle the Gator food. There are both hand washing stations, and hand sanitizer nearby for guests once they are finished. To keep groups small, you need to make a reservation at the admissions window.
Allie’s Barnyard Petting and Feeding- This adorable petting zoo is home to silly goats that you can feed right from the palm of your hand.
Gator Gully Splash Park- When your little ones are ready to get the wiggles out they can play in the warm Florida sun at this splash pad. There are changing rooms available and plenty of places for parents to sit and relax while the little ones play.
Screamin Gator Zipline- Not for the faint of heart this 1,200 foot high flying adventure takes you over gators and crocodiles. Standing over seven stories tall, the towers feature multilevel launch pads and breathtaking views from high above the treetops. There is no age restriction to fly, children must be 37″ tall or more to be able to zip.
Launch from heights of up to 65 feet
Soar across five intense zip lines ranging in length from 230 feet to more than 500 feet, and carefully cross a swinging bridge over the park’s main walkway
Fly over alligators and crocodiles at speeds near 30 miles per hour. Equipment (helmet and harness) provided
Right now you can purchase your tickets in advance on line for only $49.99 (plus tax) and it includes all day park admission.
Gator Gauntlet Single and Accessible Zip-line- Soar 350 feet above the Breeding Marsh for the single zip! Guests with mobility challenges can enjoy zip lining too, only at Gatorland! Be sure to call and make advanced reservations to secure your time. My daughter did this zip line and had a blast, she is ready for the Screamin’ Gator!
Stompin’ Gator Off-Road- Guests can board one of three, 12-foot-high custom-made, off-road monster vehicles for a 15-minute rugged and hilarious adventure like no other theme park ride anywhere. This exciting ride is chocked full of wacky characters, singing tour guides, swampy adventure, and, of course, lots of alligators. Each vehicle is specially branded and named after iconic real alligators and crocodiles at Gatorland, including Bonecrusher ℠, Cannibal Jake, and Swamp Ghost ℠.
This was an absolute blast! Kids and adults will love crashing through the swamp. You can purchase tickets in the Adventure Outpost building and reserve your time.
Shopping and Dining
No trip to Gatorland Florida is complete without some Fried Gator Nuggets, or a Chocolate Gator on A Stick.
Pearl’s Good Eats- Named after the founder’s wife, Pearl Godwin, the eatery is located near the World Famous Gator Wrestlin’ Arena and is open daily.The menu is packed of family favorites including hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, ice cream and more. The guests favorite here is definitely the fried gator nuggets (don’t worry they don’t use their own Gators).
Snackbar–Since 1965, the Gatorland Snack Bar has been providing visitors tasty treats from corn dogs to mac & cheese. They are now open for breakfast as well for those early park goers.
Fudge Kitchen- Hand made each day, this fudge is the real deal! Each batch takes one hour from kettle to slab. Each day there are at least 10 flavors to choose from. If you don’t like fudge you can get other treats such as caramel, chocolate apples, chocolate dipped marshmallows, chocolate and caramel pretzels, frozen chocolate bananas and because you are at Gatorland, a chocolate alligator on a stick.
Gator Joe’s Adventure Outpost- Here you can purchase fun Gatorland merchandise as well as your souvenir photos from your adventures.
Gatorland Florida Safety Practices
As travel begins again there are many new safety practices in place at Gatorland. I can say that I felt very safe visiting and would absolutely go back. We wore our masks as we walked throughout the park, and yes it was hot, but we survived!
Here are all of the new safety enhancements in place:
- All queue lines at admissions, shows, rides, food venues and retail shops have been marked for safe physical distancing based on CDC guidelines
- The park itself, food venues, retail shops, all shows, and rides now have reduced capacities and seats to provide comfortable and safe social distancing
- All rides, show seating, transaction counters, and pin pads are disinfected after every ride, show, or transaction
- All contact surfaces, doorknobs, handrails, grab rails, benches, chairs, and restroom surfaces are sanitized frequently throughout the day
- All counters, tables, and chairs at our food venues are sanitized and cleaned after every guest
- All public surfaces throughout the entire park are thoroughly disinfected every night
- We have added over 50 additional handwashing and hand sanitizer stations throughout the park
- The Jumparoo Show and Gator Gully Splashpark/Playground will be closed during Phase 1 and 2 due to limited space for proper social distancing
- All employees are required to have their temperature checked before working, and wear face masks at all times in the park
I feel like I barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and experience at Gatorland! You will need to go experience “The Alligator Capital of the US” for yourself.