As promised (some time ago yes) here is my review on Gatorland, USA.
Its funny because I always thought it would be further away from the other attractions in Orlando due to the fact they boast having a swamp trail (which in hindsight is ridiculous because Florida IS a swamp) but is only 15 mins away from the Lake Buena Vista outlet mall.
Driving up, you immediately see the iconic Gator jaws which mark the entrance to the park; and are a great photo spot if you have someone free to take the photo from a distance for you.
You don’t need to book ahead for this one although you can save money on the gate price if you book online. I think you save 10/25% and tickets are only around $25 for adults and $23 for kids so considerably cheaper than other attractions in Orlando.
Fun fact: Gatorland was actually around and running for years BEFORE Disney World opened and was one of Florida’s first true tourist attractions.
Once inside, you come out onto a massive deck leading deeper into the park and the gator lagoon. You get your first glimpse of these prehistoric beasts pretty quickly – which was like Christmas to pygmy. He was so excited!
I loved the funny signs they have up everywhere about the Gators eating you. They were a nice light-hearted reminder that these animals although captive bred or rescued are still very much wild…and HUNGRY.
After the initial concourse there is a snack bar where you can buy food and drinks (beers, soda and hotdogs mostly) but you’ll have to keep your wits about you as the cranes have gotten wise to snack time…
Do not be fooled into thinking of these birds like gulls or something like that. They are HUGE! For perspective, they were as tall as my 3 year old at least and many taller. And my kid is average height. You’ve been warned.
Behind the snack bar (which has plenty of shelter btw… FL weather ain’t no joke) is the lagoon arena where they do the gator jump demo.
This was very cool, if only a bit long winded. There’s a lot of chit chat about the handlers and some made up backstory and they start with the bait.
I’ll leave the rest of the show detail out so you can enjoy it when you go yourself. (no spoilers here)
Something I didn’t know before I got there was how much other stuff there was to do and see there. (I clearly didn’t do any research) but there’s
- a off road vehicle experience (I do not recommend- watched it on YouTube afterwards and you see trees … And dirt)
- a zip line ride (I’m defo doing next time)
- a gator wrangler show
- a swamp walking trail
- a budgie aviary (so cool) and
- a kids splash zone you won’t want to miss so pack a change of clothes!
It really was a great day out. Even the gift shop was great. They had lots of great merchandise and memorabilia for you to choose from.
But the highlight of the trip for us was definitely this…
Im mean, come on… Look at that face. This made his year!
Holding a baby gator… REAL baby gator. I think it was around $20 to hold both the snake and gator and get a photo.
All in all – Gatorland is not something you do everyday so in my book money well spent!
Have you been to Gatorland? What did you think?