We were invited out to Gatorland last week to experience their COVID-19 health and safety protocols and to hang out with some alligators. Gatorland has been a Central Florida attraction since 1949 (70 years!). The park has expanded quite a bit in the last few years, with more add-on experiences including the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure swamp buggy ride and the Screamin’ Gator Zipline as part of its 110 acres.
We spent a few hours with Dan, Savannah and Brandon (check out their Gatorland YouTube channel) – plus we met the Social Distancing Skunk Ape, who is a new character created for our timeframe. The Skunk Ape is at Gatorland on Saturdays and Sundays and is very popular!
This is our Mousesteps Weekly show queued up to the Gatorland segment where we talk about our visit.
He even has his own name tag.
The Social Distancing Skunk Ape not only encourages social distancing, but apparently likes to clean as well.
He also jumped into my photo.
Here is our video of Social Distancing Skunk Ape with Dan and Savannah.
There are signs for social distancing around the park.
There are signs about face masks. Gatorland does sell their own, but also has disposable masks for $1.00. Gatorland is not as strict with enforcement as other parks, but most guests were keeping their masks on around us. Gatorland is an outdoor experience except for shops and has a lot of room for distancing.
There are a lot of ways to upgrade your adventure at Gatorland and they tend to be extremely reasonable in price. There are also Florida Resident specials, and annual passes are inexpensive. Check out the Gatorland website for information if you plan to visit for your best value and experience.
There are COVID-19 reminders in the park.
We were invited to return to the Gatorland Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure. This is something you’d book at the park, and I have photos below.
There are gator markers on the ground saying to stand 6 feet apart.
While waiting for the Social Distancing Skunk Ape, we met a grunt.
The baby alligator was really cute. The grunt is about a year old.
Jeff took a photo with Social Distancing Skunk Ape before we moved into the park.
He also took video of us here, while gators float in the water. There are a lot of alligators at Gatorland to see in different areas.
Quite a few were below me here.
My favorite area of the park is the Alligator Breeding Marsh. With just a few hours on this morning we didn’t spend much time here, but it is a nature walk with very relaxing including views of plenty of alligators and birds.
Buddy may be the biggest of Gatorland’s alligators at 1200 pounds.
Here is a closer look.
This is a better view of the breeding marsh with alligators. There are bird nests everywhere and a 3-story observation tower. Not everyone who goes to Gatorland is looking to see alligators. A lot of bird enthusiasts visit here too. I look forward to going back and enjoying this area for more time.
We were heading to the Adventure Hour location to feed some alligators. We have not fed alligators before (it is illegal in the wild) and this is in a different area of the breeding marsh.
Savannah and Brandon went out to the alligators. We stood farther back.
More alligators came looking for food as we waited. Big chunks of beef are fed to them.
As we threw the meat out, a lot of alligators came for the food.
This is an add-on experience that park guests can pay for. It was definitely a unique time.
Next up is the Swamp Buggy Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure. We had ridden this on opening day.
There is another face mask sign.
The price was posted at $10.00 plus tax per person. This adventure is not as much about seeing alligators (there are some at the end), but to ride on a swamp buggy on what I think is a really fun ride. Gatorland says of this experience that you can ride one of “three, 12-foot-high custom-made, off-road monster vehicles for a 15-minute rugged and hilarious adventure like no other theme park ride anywhere”.
There is signage along the way.
You might want to turn back.
At the end, the reward is more alligators.
I also enjoyed seeing a little fall foliage.
And the hand sanitizer was even branded to the Social Distancing Skunk Ape.
We were on our way to feed white alligators.
We saw some birds along the way.
The birds include a few Egyptian geese.
One of the geese takes a stroll on the sidewalk.
Pearl is an albino alligator and I really enjoyed feeding her.
We also fed one other alligator, a leucistic gator. One way to tell the albino alligators from the leucistic alligators is the eyes. This one has the usual color eyes where an albino alligator like Pearl has red eyes.
On our way out of Gatorland, we checked out some of the other alligators.
An alligator lays across another.
Thank you to Gatorland for inviting us out! I always really enjoy time at the park. This is the very best place to view alligators, there are so many and you can upgrade your experience to feed them. Again, it is illegal in the wild because alligators lose their fear of people when fed. Some of those alligators are moved to Gatorland.