With goofy, gaping alligator jaws welcoming guests at the entrance, Gatorland is a reptilian wonderland that has been showcasing Florida's wildlife since 1949. The 110-acre (45-hectare) park is home to thousands of alligators and crocodiles, snakes, toads, turtles, and swamp birds, some of which are rescued former pets. Guests will find winding boardwalks hovering over man-made bayous, which provide safe views of the resident reptiles, plus an open-air aviary and a petting zoo of domesticated farm animals.
While many travelers book basic admission tickets to Orlando’s reptilian wonderland, it’s also possible to take a combo tour that includes time at the park and an airboat ride through the Central Florida Everglades. Gatorland guests also have numerous options for enhancing their visit beyond general admission. The Screamin’ Gator Zipline takes guests 1,200 feet (366 meters) above the park and its Alligator Breeding Marsh, home to 130 resident alligators. To experience the Florida swamp by night, opt for an after-dark tour where you can gaze into glowing gator eyes or even feed the reptiles. Those with a deeper interest in these giant reptiles can go behind the scenes to learn about their behaviors with the add-on Trainer for a Day package. Gatorland also offers experiences that allow visitors to touch and wrestle gators for an additional fee.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Gatorland is a must-see for families with kids and animal lovers.
- The fee-based Gatorland Express Train shuttles visitors around the park for easy access.
- Strollers and wheelchairs are available for rent inside the park.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
- Advance reservations are required for the Trainer for a Day program.
How to Get There
Gatorland is located on Highway 441 in South Orlando, about 20 minutes from the Orlando International Airport by road. Parking is free.
When to Get There
The park is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Since much of the site is outdoors and uncovered (and shows are canceled in the event of heavy rain), it’s a good idea to plan your visit for a day with a sunny forecast. Unlike other Orlando theme parks, crowds aren’t as much of a problem at Gatorland, but if you choose to visit during summer, expect high temperatures.
Entertainment at Gatorland
Like any good theme park, Gatorland puts on a few live shows featuring some of their famous residents. During the Gator Jumparoo, guests can observe alligators perform an impressive behavior: jumping four to five feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) out of the water to snatch food. The Gator Wrestlin’ Show demonstrates how handlers are able to safely wrangle an 8-foot-long (2.5-meter-long) alligator, limbs intact.