is one of the Sunshine State’s oldest and most-loved attractions. For over 70 years, the resort's jaw-dropping attractions have been leaving guests as wide-eyed as the animals that roam “The Alligator Capital of the World®.”
Gatorland is also a perfect alternative day out to Orlando's famous theme parks and the hubbub of crowds. Conveniently located midway between Orlando and Kissimmee, Gatorland is a sprawling 110-acre park and wildlife reserve that is home to more than 2,000 American gators, offering entertainment and education for the whole family in lush natural surroundings. And despite the name, there are more than just alligators here, the park is also home to crocodiles, exotic birds, wild cats, snakes and critters, and tortoises.
The park is easily doable in a day, but you will be best off planning your time and booking certain attractions before you go to really make the most of it. Below we have listed a few of our favourite things to do at Gatorland for your next Florida trip—don’t worry, we’ve tried to make it snappy!
Screamin’ Gator Zip Line
[Reader our Theme Park Tester's review of Gatorland too]
First up is a must-do for the thrill-seekers among us, the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line is an award-winning outdoor adventure where you whoosh through the air along 1,200ft of exciting zip wires over some of the park’s main attractions. Carefully walk across the swinging bridge above the park’s main entrance, then soar from seven storeys high over the Breeding Marsh at speeds of up to 30mph while 130 giant alligators bask beneath your feet.
Disabled parkgoers and those with mobility issues will be delighted to know that Gator Gauntlet is an accessible zip line that flies 350ft over the swamps for an equally exhilarating ride!
How about a different sort of adrenaline-fuelled experience? Gatorland’s behind-the-scenes Adventure Hour has some serious bite. Reserve your place on this extra special trip to an area of the swamp usually closed to the public, then get up-close-and-personal with some hungry reptiles. Whack on your gator-feeding gloves and help with the feeding frenzy before posing for a photo with your new scaly friends. Get in early when you arrive and reserve your spot before 12:30pm!
Three Gator-rific Shows
Keep an eye on the show schedule for the various entertainment throughout the season including Alligators: Legends of the Swamp, Gator Jumperoo and Up-Close Encounters. Each of these performances usually takes place twice a day, giving you a chance to revisit your favourite events.
Alligators: Legends of the Swamp features fearless park rangers showcasing the incredible survival skills of these majestic animals. Gator Jumperoo lets you witness some of the world’s largest alligators, who can leap up to four feet out of the water while you learn all about their formidable strength. Up-Close Encounters brings you closer to a host of astonishing critters from around the world, including some of the most dangerous snakes to slither the planet.
Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure
One of the newest alligator park Florida attractions, this exhilarating 15-minute ride is utterly bonkers with off-road trucks hauling and careering around the rugged terrain of the park.
Not for the faint-hearted, the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure is a unique ride of three custom-made 4x4 monster vehicles adorably named after notorious crocs and gators in the park: Bonecrusher, Cannibal Jake and Swamp Ghost. You can reserve your spot on one of these wacky journeys on arrival but do note it isn’t included in the admission price.
Gator Night Shine
This after-hours escapade is both fun and educational, taking you along the meandering walkways of Gatorland’s Alligator Breeding Marsh equipped with only a torch and gator food—although arguably you are the gator food… only kidding, it’s perfectly safe!
Slowly make your way through the swamp at dusk with the rest of your group and observe only the splashing of the water surrounding you and the dozens of gleaming red eyes staring back — this one is sure to get your heart pumping.
White Gator Swamp
Alongside the American alligators in the park is also the largest collection of albino and leucistic ‘white’ alligators in the US. Brothers Feros Zonbi and Trezo Je are extremely rare and are only two of 12 that exist in the entire world today that we know of. Make sure you stop off to say a quick hi and ‘see ya later, alligator’ to these magnificent creatures chilling out in the sun.
The Breeding Marsh
The park’s stunning 10-acre Breeding Marsh comes alive during the spring nesting season as a bird rookery, featuring many feathered friends who seek sanctuary and safety amid the ferocious yet protective alligators. Interact with some colourful parrots, macaws, and cockatoos at the Parrot Playground, or enter the Very Merry Aviary and socialise with hundreds of budgies and let them feed from your hands or perch on your shoulders.
For the little ones in your party, there is also Allie’s Barnyard Petting & Feeding area where they can hand over special feeding pellets to some less fearsome animals such as goats and emus. And don’t miss Baby Gator Marsh, a sweet habitat that is home to more than 60 of the park’s smallest alligators—sometimes called ‘grunts’ due to their cute snorting noises—as well as the year’s latest hatchlings before they grow and are moved to the outdoor pools with their fellow older chums.
If you are seeking new and different things to do on your next Orlando holiday, Gatorland is a must-visit destination full of entertainment and learning that focuses on the beautifully wild side of Florida and its extraordinary inhabitants.
For more information or to snap up some tickets to Gatorland, get in touch with our Travel Specialists today.