Orlando: July 9 : Gatorland

Who’d have thought that such a gem existed?  For under $20, we each got tickets to a large reptile and bird park called “Gatorland“.  It’s only a few minutes from the Disney parks and is totally worth the price.  Our Wyndham discount riveled that of the military ID discount (the latter being slightly deeper cut in cost). 

Chi was hoping to go to SeaWorld, but at $84 per ticket, I couldn’t justify the excursion.  Perhaps next time we’ll prepurchase tickets on base and save a bit.  Gatorland, she said, was going to be no fun. She pouted and stomped all the way to the car.

Now here’s where I made a few major errors: I didn’t pack a bottle of water, extra camera batteries or wet wear.  Water was at premium prices ($2.50 a bottle) and my camera died within 30 minutes of our arrival.  Luckily, the weather wasn’t sweltering and the park had shade.  And Oma brought her camera, so I stole it to take pictures.  As for the water wear, I couldn’t fix that issue and Chi was certainly not happy to see the splashing kids enjoying the water gysers.  PopPop insisted that I should’ve known that everything in Florida features opportunities to get wet.
There was a small section with various smaller animals anxious to be fed corn from ice cream cones.  The llama loved Chi… or maybe it was an Alpaca?

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Ya liked the goat, but the goat seemed to like brochures better than cone remnants.

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The featured gators were the white alligators that were lounging inside glass houses.  Perhaps their lack of color means easier sunburning? Check out his/her baby blues.

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We caught the main show  – a comedy routine with an action sequence a la Crocodile Hunter.

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And for an extra $5, we got to gator wrestle (which probably wasn’t too grand for the day’s selected ‘opponent’).

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Yadon was going to get a solo picture (Mommy wanted one, too, but didn’t want to spend another $5), but he stopped at the gate of the pen and would not budge closer to the gator.  The attendant urged him forward while I held my camera ready for a great picture.  Ya simply said, “No. Bite.” and stood his ground.  Smart kid. So, I relinquished my camera to Oma, suggested a great vantage point was near the woman wearing pink, and went to save my baby.  With my assurance, Ya sat on the gator and we got our shot.

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I did get a solo shot with a ceramic gator right before we left the park.  I wonder though, would they have let me pose like this with the real thing?

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In a park with all these gators, you’d think fowl would be sparse… but they were there in abundance.  Our railroad tour of the grounds shared that living in trees above the swamps ensured the safety of egg nests for the birds.  No intelligent animal would dare venture into a gator-filled swamp after eggs, right? Somehow it makes perfect sense.
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Interesting how big this one’s feet were.
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Another surfer. Totally cool.
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What I now like to call the Floridian pigeon was cute at first, but they seemed to be everywhere and the novelty of this bird wore off quick.
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This was a great “find” for us.  We spent more than 4 hours enjoying the park and could’ve stayed longer for the other shows.  There was a caricature artist ($10 color portrait? Perfect). There was an opportunity to take pictures with a huge yellow snake (like Brittany Spears) or a juvenile alligator. And we can’t forget that water park element…
And Chi ended up loving the experience and apologized for not being eager to go.
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