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Gatorland

Orlando, FL
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Gatorland, Orlando FL

Description

I'm so glad I visited Gatorland! I thought it was a tourist trap so I didn't visit it for a long time. But it is wonderful! It is pure joy to wander along the marsh boardwalk checking out the happy birds. They are just natural birds that come of their own free will to this beautiful area. There are so many different types of birds, and some even stand on the back of alligators. The alligators are HUGE and they are right by you (you are safe because of the wire around the boardwalk). Every so often you hear someone squeal with delight as they take the initial plunge on the zipline. You can climb stairs to the top of an observation tower and there are signs showing you what Florida attractions are in each direction.
Along the boardwalk, the water below you is sometimes crystal clear, in little mangrove areas with flowers. So pretty!
There are lots of things to check out at Gatorland so set aside four hours, and make sure you see everything by checking the map. You can see newborn alligators that are adorable, deer in a little quiet corner, parrots throughout the park, panthers in a glass enclosure, a tortoise munching happily on carrot pieces, and emus that have such beautiful blue necks. There are all different kind of gators and crocodiles (nile, white, saltwater, Cuban) to check out and it never gets old. Nice Indian music with tabla drums and a drone plays quietly in the background- I loved it! So much better than the music at the theme parks. 
There are dozens of colorful budgerigars you can feed with a seedstick, and goats you can feed with an ice cream cone full of food. They poke their heads up over the fence and it looks so cute! A staff member played with the bobcats with a peacock feather making them leap around, when I was there. Such an unusual and wonderful thing to see!
For $2 extra you can do a train ride. For $10 extra you can get your photo taken as you stand 3 feet in front of a whole row of huge alligators.
There are shows every hour that last for about fifteen minutes. During the jumperoo show, staff members hang chicken meat on a rope to make the alligators jump for it, and also feed them by hand. The Alligators: Legends of the Swamp show is a little disturbing as the staff member holds the gators mouth closed while sitting on the gator, and tells you facts and jokes. I didn't like when he put his face right by the gator- too dangerous. The Upclose Encounters show involves snakes that the staff member handles and tells you about. 
On the southeast corner of the map, find the Swamp Walk, where you can walk the real swamplands. There is a boardwalk under the beautiful trees and you can see turtles if you look carefully. The boardwalk takes you on a short loop trail.
For kids there is a fun splash pad and a playground. 
The afternoon is a nice time to come because the birds and gators are very active at this time.
After, eat at Abuelo's, a large chain restaurant with an appealing Hacienda-style interior and good Mexican food at The Loop outdoor mall. It is a nine minute drive west. Ask to sit in the booths by the hacienda, not by the bar- the hacienda area is much prettier.
For a free and very beautiful shady swamp boardwalk in the area (17 minutes away by car), check out Steffee Landing. You won't see many alligators or birds at Steffee Landing compared to Gatorland, but there is an emerald green, wide creek, beautiful tropical atmosphere, and historic cabins. Also check out Pioneer Village, for quaint historic cabins and a church, and trails along the creek that aren't shaded.

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Photo Gallery

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Palm trees reflected in the water.
Palm trees reflected in the water.
Huge gators lazing in the sun.
Huge gators lazing in the sun.
Bobcat playing with a peacock feather.
Bobcat playing with a peacock feather.
Cypress tree and egret.
Cypress tree and egret.
Looking up at the trees on the Swamp Walk.
Looking up at the trees on the Swamp Walk.
The entrance to the Swamp Walk.
The entrance to the Swamp Walk.
The Swamp Walk sign.
The Swamp Walk sign.
Wavy walkway.
Wavy walkway.
Snake handling during the Upclose Encounters show.
Snake handling during the Upclose Encounters show.
Goat sticking its tongue out for food!!
Goat sticking its tongue out for food!!
Goat on a tire!
Goat on a tire!
A little boy feeds the goat.
A little boy feeds the goat.
Goat sticking its head over the fence.
Goat sticking its head over the fence.
Goats eager for food.
Goats eager for food.
A girl delights in feeding a goat.
A girl delights in feeding a goat.
Egrets near the entrance.
Egrets near the entrance.
Tropical plants.
Tropical plants.
Saw palmetto is a beautiful color.
Saw palmetto is a beautiful color.
Egrets standing in a line!
Egrets standing in a line!
Budgerigars you can feed with a seedstick.
Budgerigars you can feed with a seedstick.
Parrot- what amazing colors.
Parrot- what amazing colors.
I love this guy, with his feathers catching the light.
I love this guy, with his feathers catching the light.
Tortoise eating carrot wedges.
Tortoise eating carrot wedges.
Birds in the sky!
Birds in the sky!
Alligator looking sweet.
Alligator looking sweet.
Birds in the trees at the marsh.
Birds in the trees at the marsh.
The boardwalk over the marsh.
The boardwalk over the marsh.
Beautiful bird in the flowers.
Beautiful bird in the flowers.
The birds are very tame.
The birds are very tame.
Boardwalk over the marsh.
Boardwalk over the marsh.
Fat alligator on the bank.
Fat alligator on the bank.
Blue heron in the marsh.
Blue heron in the marsh.
This bird is not scared!
This bird is not scared!
Bird standing on an alligator!
Bird standing on an alligator!
Bird taking a chance...
Bird taking a chance...
Flowers.
Flowers.
Peaceful alligator.
Peaceful alligator.
Zipline over the alligator lagoon.
Zipline over the alligator lagoon.
Walking along the gorgeous boardwalk.
Walking along the gorgeous boardwalk.
View from the top of the observation tower.
View from the top of the observation tower.
An alligator swims along. They are cool to watch.
An alligator swims along. They are cool to watch.
Birds getting active in the afternoon.
Birds getting active in the afternoon.
Bird checking out the world.
Bird checking out the world.
Bird cruising in the marsh.
Bird cruising in the marsh.
Alligator with a funny expression.
Alligator with a funny expression.
Blue heron.
Blue heron.
I love this guy.
I love this guy.
Three birds standing on the fence railing.
Three birds standing on the fence railing.
Emus being affectionate.
Emus being affectionate.
Watching the Alligators: Legends of the Swamp show.
Watching the Alligators: Legends of the Swamp show.
Bird in a patch of flowers.
Bird in a patch of flowers.
Bird hanging out by an alligator.
Bird hanging out by an alligator.
Birds in a pretty spot by the flowers and clear water.
Birds in a pretty spot by the flowers and clear water.
The boardwalk and flowers.
The boardwalk and flowers.
Flowers and observation tower.
Flowers and observation tower.
Bird with fluffy feathers.
Bird with fluffy feathers.
Birds stepping in the clear water.
Birds stepping in the clear water.
Don't miss this boardwalk. It is amazing!
Don't miss this boardwalk. It is amazing!
Deer in a sweet little forest area.
Deer in a sweet little forest area.
Creepy buzzards.
Creepy buzzards.
Flowers.
Flowers.
Deer munching together.
Deer munching together.
Gators look so incredible!
Gators look so incredible!
Shady walkways.
Shady walkways.
This guy is crazy!
This guy is crazy!
Heron.
Heron.
Red plants catching the light.
Red plants catching the light.
Crocodile opening its mouth.
Crocodile opening its mouth.
Muddy gator.
Muddy gator.
Train ride!
Train ride!
Shady path.
Shady path.
Nile crocodile.
Nile crocodile.
Peaceful crocodile enclosure.
Peaceful crocodile enclosure.
Handfeeding a gator.
Handfeeding a gator.
The Jumperoo show where chicken is dangled above the gators.
The Jumperoo show where chicken is dangled above the gators.
I don't like this scary part.
I don't like this scary part.
Boy running in the splash pad.
Boy running in the splash pad.
A family enjoys watching a tortoise.
A family enjoys watching a tortoise.
Pretty landscaping.
Pretty landscaping.
Panthers rolling around.
Panthers rolling around.
Newborn alligator!
Newborn alligator!
I love the newborn alligators!
I love the newborn alligators!
The newborn alligators are so cute.
The newborn alligators are so cute.
Adorable!
Adorable!
Splash pad buckets.
Splash pad buckets.
Gator sculptures on the splash pad.
Gator sculptures on the splash pad.
Caribbean architecture.
Caribbean architecture.
Gator ridges catching the light.
Gator ridges catching the light.
Warning. Trespassers will be eaten!
Warning. Trespassers will be eaten!
Pretty landscape behind the gators on the bank.
Pretty landscape behind the gators on the bank.
Giant gator teeth at the entrance!
Giant gator teeth at the entrance!
Floating languidly in a pool.
Floating languidly in a pool.
Gator smile.
Gator smile.
Gators are so cool-looking.
Gators are so cool-looking.
Birds in a tree.
Birds in a tree.
You can feed the gators hot dogs.
You can feed the gators hot dogs.
This guy is so relaxed despite gators looking on.
This guy is so relaxed despite gators looking on.
Florida Panther relaxing.
Florida Panther relaxing.
Legends of the Swamp show.
Legends of the Swamp show.
Turtle on a log in the Swamp Walk.
Turtle on a log in the Swamp Walk.
Ferns in the Swamp Walk.
Ferns in the Swamp Walk.
Upclose Encounters show audience participation.
Upclose Encounters show audience participation.
Cute bird up high on a tower.
Cute bird up high on a tower.
   

Directions

Gatorland is located at 14501 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837. There is plenty of free parking.
Gatorland is in an area of Orlando that is easy to drive to, on Highway 417, a toll road that is relatively peaceful, compared to the usual craziness in Orlando.
Admission is $30 for adults, $25 for seniors aged 55+, and $20 for children aged 3-12. Some months there are 50% off specials for Florida residents. 
Annual passes are $45 for adults, $40 for seniors, and $30 for children- definitely worth it since I'd return over and over just to do the walk over the marsh boardwalk and the swamp walk.
Open daily 10-5.

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Visitor Ratings

Overall Visitor Rating:


Carol
03/18/2020 23:48
The wetlands area is something to behold.

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Last Updated: Sat, 13 Jun 2020 13:37:49 GMT