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Gatorland – Alligator Alley Animal Exhibits

Rating: * *
Type: Zoo-like walk-by exhibits
Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Kelly says: Worth a stroll by; kids will enjoy feeding the parakeets, goats, and deer

Alligator Alley is lined with a hodge-podge of cages, pens, and glass-walled displays that hearken back to the days when Gatorland was building its collection of “exotic” animals. Today, most of the animals on display are Florida natives like “Judy” the black bear and a small collection of emus, along with a variety of turtles, gators, and crocs.

The newest addition to the Alley is the White Gator Swamp, home to four of the world's largest leucistic (not albino) ivory-colored gators inside Cajun-themed glass cubicles. The Snakes of Florida display is one of the more elaborate, housing a representative sample of Florida's 69 snake species behind glass windows and accompanied by helpful bits of written information. The walk-through Very Merry Aviary houses a scruffy band of parakeets that you can feed ($1 per serving); it is open for hour periods on a regular schedule posted on the door.

Many of the animals, like the macaws and emus (not Florida natives), and the farm animals in Allie's Barnyard can be fed. Convenient dispensers at a number of enclosures contain appropriate treats (at 25 cents a modest handful) for the kids to feed to their favorites. Like the aviary, Allie's Barnyard opens up for half-hour to hour-long up close sessions about four times a day, and ice cream cones of critter food sell for $2, or three for $5. Across the way from Allie's Barnyard, look for Flamingo Lagoon, home to a small flock of American flamingos. The graceful pink birds, immortalized by millions of tacky lawn ornaments, are actually a light grey at birth. They get their reddish color from their diet of brine shrimp.

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