Gatorland!

I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve posted a tutorial! I have one all lined up, but I’ve been feeling under the weather and, let me tell you, filming a tutorial when you’re head is foggy is not the easiest. So I apologize, but here’s to hoping that I will be better soon and up to filming in the next couple of days.

My goal is to infuse your lives with all sorts of beauty–makeup, fashion, good eats, and new places to explore.  I always love going to new places, and we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel all over the country for my husband’s job, so there are lots of new cities, restaurants, and attractions for us to see. Since not everyone gets to (or has to, depending on how you look at it) move back and forth across the country at least 3 times a year, I figure that I’ll explore as many places as I can and pass on my thoughts.  If you ever visit any of the cities we call home, you’ll have some ideas on where to go for a new adventure.

Despite the fact that both my husband and myself are fighting off a cold, when he gets a rare afternoon off, we must seize the opportunity to go exploring.  Now is the time to fill you in on another little obsession of mine. I LOVE alligators. Every time I have visited my husband in Florida for the past few years, I’ve made it my mission to spot a gator.  And I’ve failed.  We joke that I must have some built-in gator repellent because in the month that we have been down here, he has seen TWO gators just out and about in the wild.  Me?! Nothing.  Well, that just isn’t acceptable, but since I’m incapable of spotting one in nature, we thought we’d try my luck at Gatorland. This may just be one of my new favorite places.

Admission is around $25 for adults, but for just a few extra dollars, you can upgrade your ticket to include a wristband for unlimited train rides, food to feed the gators, and an opportunity to become a “rookie wrestler.”  Boy, was the upgrade worth it! The park consists of countless gator habitats, a 10 acre breeding marsh, a few croc enclosures, a petting zoo and some entertaining shows.  It was the perfect way to spend our free afternoon.

We started our day off with a peaceful stroll around the Breeding Marsh.  This is the home of 100 female gators and 30 very lucky male gators, as well as numerous bird species that use the surrounding trees as a nesting ground.  The marsh is so named because these gators breed here naturally every year, and the eggs are collected and taken to the nursery.  The birds also build their nests in the trees that hang over the marsh because the gators provide protection from other predators, such as snakes, raccoons, and bobcats that find eggs and baby birds to be a perfect meal.


Those are some seriously brave birds that call the breeding marsh “home”.

We saw a few of the shows, including the Gator Jumparoo show and the Gator Wrestling show.  Before the start of the Gator Wrestling show, I got to sit atop a gator named Mona as part of our upgraded admission.  It felt so weird! The body felt somehow squishy, but extremely solid and the head was actually rather heavy!  It was definitely a dream come true to be interacting with a gator like this!!  And don’t worry…her mouth was taped. :)


I can’t believe I’m SITTING on a gator!!!!

We also got to feed the gators with some raw hotdogs that we picked up at the Gator Bait Shack.  We were too busy watching the feeding frenzy (and the brave birds that would try to snatch a bite or two) to take pictures of that, but you’re allowed to feed any of the gators or crocs that aren’t in glass enclosures.  Since only a few of the gators are enclosed (for their own or the other gators’ protection), you can pretty much feed any of the gators you come across.  We chose to go back to the boardwalk along the breeding marsh to feed some of the big boys we saw in there.


These are some of the gators we later came back to feed.  They love their hot dogs!

To end our day, we wandered down the walk that houses the petting zoo, some little gator hatchlings, and deer! We came down this way right before closing, so we had the animals all to ourselves.  The petting zoo had already closed, but that was just fine with me because petting zoos actually kind of freak me out.  At the deer enclosure, you can buy food to feed them, so when they see people coming, they mosey right on up to the fence! Now it’s time for weird obsession #2 of the day: DEER!  I grew up in Southern California, so I never had the chance to encounter a deer.  When I moved to Columbus, OH after college, there were deer EVERYWHERE.  At Abercrombie & Fitch, deer would come right up to our windows and nap on the side of our buildings.  When I saw a deer, I knew it was going to be a good day.  Most of my friends from Ohio think that I’m insane because they grew up surrounded by the adorable creatures and often found them to be a driving hazard. Needless to say, when this little guy came up to me, I could not have been happier!!


I’m actually PETTING a deer.  What an amazing day!

Wow, Gatorland. You made this girl’s day.  I got to cross two things off my bucket list, and had such a fun time learning all about gators and crocs with my wonderful husband.  And we didn’t even do or see all of the things that this new favorite place of mine had to offer! I highly recommend going there if you’re in the Orlando area and are looking for the gator experience of a lifetime!  It truly was an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

 

Disclaimer: These opinions are entirely my own.  I was not compensated in any way by Gatorland or any other company to write this review.

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