Started in 1957 as a roadside attraction to show tourists one of the two Florida experiences they wanted -- alligators! -- Gatorama still has that funky Old Florida feel.
Fees: $14.95 adults, $13.95 seniors/military/teachers, children under 60″ $6.95. Additional fees for special experiences like Gator Wranglin’.
Open: 10-5 daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Since 1968, Gatorama has showcased an endangered Florida reptile that you won’t see much of anywhere else, the American crocodile. Endemic to South Florida, these massive saltwater creatures breed from December through January; the colony here now numbers more than 50.
When you see owner Allen Register or one of his staff dangling food into the pond for the alligators to munch, you’ll understand what a half century of growth means in gator terms: these creatures are huge!
One large pond is divided in two by the walkway and fencing to keep the more aggressive alligators away from the American crocodile colony. Although the exhibits are old-style tiled pools, they showcase interesting creatures such as the mugger crocodile of India and the Nile crocodile.
In 1987, the Register family began farming alligators for meat, and the demand still outstrips their supply. Covered walkways lead you past the exhibits, but you’ll spend most of your time marveling at the size of the reptiles cruising the big pond.