17 Tips For Visiting Gatorland Orlando | Explained
Opened in 1949, and famously billed as the “Alligator Capital of the World”, Gatorland is renowned for purchasing, rescuing, and saving nuisance alligators.
Despite the name, Gatorland also showcases a variety of entertaining activities including reptiles shows, a breeding marsh & bird rookery, swamp/nature walk, petting zoo, water park, gatorland zipline, and last but not least, crocodiles.
In this article, we will go over everything that you need to know prior to going to Gatorland including what you can't miss, the best shows and places in the park, and of course tips and tricks.
1. Invest in a Refillable Cups
After turning in your printed voucher at the front of the facility, and getting the thumbs up to enter, you will immediately be walking into a park filled with gators that naturally reside in swamps.
What you can immediately expect to feel in a swampy area (If you haven’t already) is lots and lots of humidity.
Luckily for you, about 30 seconds into entering, a shop is located directly ahead, where you are able to buy a large refillable cup for a mere $5.99, with unlimited refills for $0.99.
Gatorland is mostly an outdoors park (gift shops provide air conditioning), the walkways contain overheads for shade along with fans, however in the brutal Florida heat, the refillable cups will be a great investment.
2. Where To Buy Tickets & Hours
This is hands down the best place to purchase your tickets.
Why? The tickets are always cheaper than purchasing straight from the park, along with being one of the most trusted and reputable brands.
How does the process work?
Easy and Fast Process
1a. Place your order and complete your booking
2a. You will immediately receive your voucher via email
3a. Print your voucher
4a. Walk straight to the gate
5a. Hand them your voucher
6a. Enjoy your Gatorland trip
3. White Gator Swamp
The white gator swamp has more of a museum feel to it.
You walk in a semi-secluded area and there are white gators behind glass, on both sides.
It contains signs with information including their names, how they got their white color etc.
This will be a more calm environment as the gators will be more stationary.
If you are an information enthusiast, this is the place for you.
4. Gator Jumparoo Show:
One of the all time classics, the Gator Jumparoo show will provide you with an experience that will keep you glued to the water.
Here you will watch some of the colossal gators jump several feet out of the water and snatch some meals.
There will be “oo’s” and “ahh’s” as the sneakily athletic monsters show off their range.
5. Can’t Miss Shows (All shows have scheduled times)
Gator Wrestlin’ Show:
In a shaded stadium with a capacity of 800, visitors travel from all over the world to watch the fearless gator wranglers pull-off exciting stunts while simultaneously educating the spectators on helpful survival techniques.
The Gator Wrestlin' show is very interactive and crowd friendly, they do a great job to keep you engaged.
To finish off the show the gator is turned on its back and sent to sleep, until it is woken up from its nap by a tickle from the wrangler!
6. Up Close Encounters:
This show is unsurprisingly exactly what the name depicts.
Visitors from the audience are chosen at random (and voluntary) to participate and guess what is in the box!
If you are intrigued by creatures from all over the world, including snakes, then this is the show for you!
You will be able to experience, up close, creatures that most people only get to see on tv.
Bonus Tip: Get in early for this show to sit under the shade.
If you come late you will notice some seats on the sides are left open, and that is due to the seats being hot as the sun has been beaming on them for quite some time
We've written a guide that details all of the shows that Gatorland offers, what's included in each show, and the show schedule.
7. Petting Zoo
In the midst of all the “scary” things available in Gatorland, there is a petting zoo available to visit to calm your nerves!
The best deal that you will want to do is the 3 for $5 to get the most out your money.
The petting zoo includes goats, miniature Indian cows and more! There is a hand-washing station available inside the area for all guests.
8. Parrot Playground
If you want to get quality pictures of birds or anything not named gators, you will want to stop by the Parrot Playground.
The birds seem very used to human presence, as they will pose, and even talk back to you!
This is a neat area located in a corner in a “walk around” pattern allowing guests to be able to see all of the birds available in a line.
The best times to attend to avoid crowds are during the early mornings and late afternoon.
9. Know Gatorland Hours
10 am - 5 pm every day of the year, as Gatorland is open 365 days a year.
10. How Long to Spend at the Gatorland Park
If you want to enjoy everything that the park has to offer, I would suggest planning for around 3-4 hours.
Walking around and experiencing different parts of the park does not take a long time.
However the different shows Gatorland offers will have you entertained for the duration which is around 45 minutes.
You can read more about how long it will take to go through Gatorland here.
11. Know About Gatorland's Water Park
Gatorland also features a water park named the Gator Gully Splash park.
Little ones and families will be able to enjoy themselves in a safe & fun environment.
12. Gatorland's Mascot is Not a Gator?
It is... a skunk ape.
You're probably wondering what in the world is that? Well, you're not the only ones, we've included a picture below.
A skunk ape is a folkloric creature similar to apes that supposedly inhabited the swamps of Florida.
It was specifically named for its unique appearance and foul odor.
13. No Need to Pay to Park
You will be pleased to know that there is no charge for parking at Gatorland.
14. Know What to Wear
You'll want to dress comfortably but with a hint of athleticism.
Light clothing will go a long way in enduring an entire day of walking, sweating, and possibly even getting wet (from the rain or Gator Gully Splash Park).
You can read more in depth with our What to Wear to Gatorland article.
15. Distance From Orlando Airport to Gatorland:
It is about a 15-20 minute drive from Orlando International Airport (MCO).
16. Know What To Hold Off On
Gatorland is an overall fantastic adventure. However, the one experience to hold off for last, or put at the bottom of your to-do list would be the Swamp Walk. Located near the end of the park, I walked in with high hopes and I was expecting a bit more animals. There were a few small turtles (at most) and a lot of walking.
If you’ve never experienced a swamp environment, it is still definitely worth the experience, but be aware of what you’re walking into.
17 Overall Gatorland Review
Is Gatorland worth visiting? If you want to have one of the most unique experiences with animals, absolutely! Walking through the park and navigating through the different areas will be the equivalent to other park tours for you and your family.
Gatorland is very different from other parks in the world and it truly provides you a unique experience.
A lot of ziplines go in a straight line through the duration of the ride and end in under 1 minute. This zipline ride navigates tower to tower to different checkpoints as you slowly are introduced to wildlife, longer distances, and higher altitudes.
As one of the most unique experiences in Central Florida, the Boggy Creek Airboat Tour provides something that other attractions and theme parks simply can't.. A front row view through the Everglades. The tour allows you and your party to glide through the water as you encounter wildlife such as gators, turtles & birds in their natural environments.
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