It’s your last day in Orlando, you’ve packed up the family and loaded the car and are wondering what to do, as it’s only 10am! May I suggest…. Gatorland…
Located on S Orange Blossom Drive, it’s on route to Orlando International Airport. Take the 417 Toll road off I4, take exit 11 and head right onto S Orange Blossom Drive, Gatorland will be on your left.
Gatorland is a 110 acre theme park (Magic Kingdom is only 27 acres), obviously the majority of this space is for the alligators, so it won’t take weeks to walk round! The park was founded in 1949 by Owen Godwin and is still privately owned by his family.
So what can you expect from a day at Gatorland – Fun, Smiles and Special Memories! That’s there mission statement, and I would say it’s true. You will easily loose count of how many alligators there are at Gatorland just walking 100 feet through the front door, but trust me the further you walk the bigger they get!
They have three main shows..
Gator Jumparoo – This show involves some of the largest alligators in the park, you will see how high they can jump with the incentive of a chicken or two! From shaded platforms around the central stage area, this fun family show will have you laughing in seconds.
Gator Wrestlin’ – Head for the 800 seat shaded stadium to experience an alligator wrangler catch a 6 to 8 foot alligator by hand, then climb aboard to point out facts about these awesome creatures, in an informative, but as always fun way. Then for the sleepy party trick…. Flip a gator and he falls asleep to then be woken with just a tickle!
Up Close Encounters – It’s often the little fellas you need to be careful of in this show, with an introduction to many fascinating and deadly creatures from around the world.
Around the park you will see many different animals, the majority are native to Orlando, including snakes (which are clearly signposted if you wish to avoid this section!), big cats, and I mean big! Stunningly beautiful; Florida panthers and bobcats.
You can interact with many of the animals including the petting zoo, these goats may look a lot less scary than the gators, but trust me they are sneaky!
For a more relaxing experience take a stroll around the swamp walk, no wellies needed, it’s a raised looping walkway that guides you though a section of the park's swamp and has informative signs along the way – for example did you know that Fern’s were on the earth with the dinosaurs.
If you’re more of an adrenaline junky than a relaxing stroll kind of person – check out the Screamin’ Gator Zipline. With 1,200 feet of high flying adventure, taking you seven stories high from multilevel launch pads. If you look out you have some breathtaking views above the treetops, but if you look down, you have 130 giant alligators watching from below, with their toes crossed… just in case!
Gatorland works closely with other parks in the area, in fact the alligators that you see at Seaworld are from Gatorland and return there once they are too big for the enclosure at Seaworld.
It’s a great family fun day and will be a lasting memory for you all before getting on that flight home, plus it might just wear out the little one’s enough to sleep through the flight…!
When leaving Gatorland you will need to take a slightly different route, take a right out of Gatorland, take a right onto Town Center Blvd, and then a left onto Landstar Blvd (there is a CVS and Walgreens on the corner), you will now be able to pick up the 417 Toll road (heading west). Follow signs to the airport. This journey will take 30 minutes, but leave yourself plenty of time, just in case you should hit traffic.
From a safety point of view, make sure your luggage is out of sight in the car, I wouldn’t want your last day to be spoilt.
Have a great time!
If you are based in the UK and would like to purchase your Gatorland Tickets in advance the current prices (March 2015) are £17 for Adults and £13 for Children age 3-12yrs old which is a saving of about £2 per person on the gate price.