Gator Encounters in Orlando

Discussion in 'Other U.S. Destinations' started by NileGuide, Feb 15, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Folks travel to China to see panda bears, Australia to see kangaroos, and Africa to see lions. In Florida, the main animal attraction is the alligator. More than a million alligators call Florida home, a population size that’s only eclipsed in the USA by the state of Louisiana where there are more than 1.5 million gators.
    [​IMG]
    By Pezlet/flickr
    These creepy critters can grow to up to 14 feet long and can weigh more than a thousand pounds. Whether lurking in fresh water lakes or sprawling in the sun at area golf courses, spotting an alligator is a pretty common occurrence for Central Floridians. But for visitors, it’s a pretty cool perk. Depending on your level of courage, there are a variety of ways to encounter a gator… decide which one is best for you!
    In the Wild
    For those travelers with an adventurous streak, seeing a gator in its natural habitat is very cool. Head to Wekiwa Springs where kayaks and canoes are available for rent seven days a week. As you peacefully paddle down Wekiva River, keep an eye on the muddy river bank, a favorite napping place for local gators. You’ll not likely see anything larger than five or six feet, but nevertheless, seeing a gator just a few feet from your kayak will be a memorable experience. You’ll also likely see river otters, cranes, turtles, and if you are really lucky, a deer. While you’re in the park, be sure to check out the natural spring which can offer a refreshing or frigid swim depending on the time of year.
    [​IMG]
    By Herbie in the Hills/flickr
    There are gators galore at Lake Jesup. In fact, this large body of water north of Orlando has not only the highest concentration of alligators in the area (more than 9,000), but also the biggest of the species since any gators found larger than nine feet in local lakes are brought to Lake Jesup. Black Hammock Adventures offers the best option for gator viewing. The complex, which houses a restaurant and the Lazy Gator Bar, offers daily airboat rides departing every thirty minutes. The ride, which is guaranteed to provide gator encounters, costs $24.95 for adults and $20.95 for children 10 and under.
    Those visitors staying near Disney will probably find a Kissimmee-based airboat tour more convenient. Boggy Creek Airboat Tours has day AND night tours, which are great for seeing the gator’s spooky yellow eyes in the dark. Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours provides adventures the whole family in Saint Cloud on the waters of Lake Toho (Tohopekaliga).
    In Captivity
    While the alligators at Gatorland are technically in captivity, the encounters are still thrilling. Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park wholly devoted to alligators. More than a thousands gators call it home — from tiny newborns to gigantic adults. Besides seeing the gators swim, laze around (they do that really well), and interact with each other, you can also see a few gator shows including one where the gators are fed (very cool) and one where trainers wrestle the gators. There is also a play park, several snack bars, a petting zoo (with goats, not gators), an aviary, the Gatorland Express train, and a new splash park. There are also plans to open a new zipline course sometime in the summer of 2011.
    [​IMG]
    by Bob Jagendorf/flickr
    The $22.99 adult admission (go to their website for discount coupons) is well worth it. You can easily spend several hours wandering through the various exhibits, checking out the shows and watching the gators do their thing. Besides alligators, the park also houses turtles, birds, and crocodiles. The park is open every day from 9am to 5pm.
    Like seeing Mickey and snapping a picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle, seeing an alligator during your next Orlando vacation is a must.


    Continue reading...
     
  2. safetymom
    Original Member

    safetymom Silver Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    40
    Status Points:
    175
  3. flyingdawg
    Original Member

    flyingdawg Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,072
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Status Points:
    1,120
  4. safetymom
    Original Member

    safetymom Silver Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    40
    Status Points:
    175
    They are also running a discount for Florida residents.
     
  5. druiddation
    Original Member

    druiddation Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,674
    Likes Received:
    14,730
    Status Points:
    10,620
    I was going to recommend the photographer's pass for Gatorland but I just checked their website and it has been canceled for 2011. It basically allowed access before the park opened and after hours.
     
    safetymom likes this.
  6. safetymom
    Original Member

    safetymom Silver Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    40
    Status Points:
    175
    I never knew they had something like that. Where did you find it on their website?
     
  7. druiddation
    Original Member

    druiddation Gold Member

    Messages:
    3,674
    Likes Received:
    14,730
    Status Points:
    10,620
  8. safetymom
    Original Member

    safetymom Silver Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    40
    Status Points:
    175
    Thanks.
     

Share This Page