If like a lot of us, you can’t tell alligators from crocs (maybe a vacation idea for you here), here’s a Florida alligator farm, Gatorama, Palmdale, Florida off Highway 27, with a healthy dose of reptiles on display, actually nearly 30 American crocodiles to the right and 35-40 American alligators to the left with a boardwalk between them. The park is one of Florida’s roadside attraction survivors that opened in 1957. The gators get fed in the late morning. The crocs in the afternoon. Also nestled in the back of the park are hundreds of other alligators of varying ages as well as other related species including caiman, African crocodiles, snapper turtles, African tortoises and more. There’s also a Florida panther pen, farm animals such as goats and some pretty ostentatious peacocks. And if you’re so inclined, there’s the “Gator Bare Backin’ ” for $8 that lets you pose for photos while astride a 7- to 8-foot gator. (I think I’ll pass.)
Note: See the star of Gatorama, who can’t live with the other crocodiles anymore. Goliath is missing part of his tail, but would be about five metres long. He came to the park in 1968, already a young adult, but over time became known as “Killer Croc” because he ended up killing many other alligators and crocodiles on site. At the time, the two were mixed in the front lake. Now, he’s separated in his own pen in the back. The park is a working alligator farm with more than 2,000 animals from eight crocodilian species on site. While still recovering from hurricane damage from 2017, it’s growing its footprint, including the construction of a snack bar that park owners hope will be up and running before its annual Hatching Festival from Aug. 19th to Sept. 4th. It’s a little rough on the edges compared to the more popular Gatorland in Orlando, but it has a lot of character that makes it a survivor.
(Source: Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel , Toronto Star; Image: Orlando Sentinel)