***Thank you to Gatorland for hosting my family for our first-time visit to Gatorland and sponsoring this post so I could share our experience with you!***
A year ago, one of my husband’s co-workers shared such a glowing, rave review of Gatorland, our interest was very piqued. So when we decided on a family road trip to Florida this summer, we knew taking a day to visit this alligator hot spot would definitely be on the itinerary!
Without having ever visited before and really knowing very little about Gatorland, we were open to checking out all it had to offer and taking our time to enjoy the park. Gatorland is billed as “Orlando’s best half-day attraction”, and while you can certainly enjoy much of “The Alligator Capitol of the World” in a few hours, we learned there is plenty to do to fill up a fun family day out if you have the time. So whether you are only considering a trip to Florida, or already have one on the books with extra time open, learn from our experience! Here is some smart scoop to ace a first-time visit to Gatorland.
10 Smart Tips for a First-Time Visit to Gatorland
- Take cash and feed the gators. Shortly after you enter the park, you find yourself in the area where guests can feed alligators. This is a very cool, must-do experience. While it’s not expensive ($3), they only accept cash.
- See the shows! Get a schedule upon arriving at the park, and make plans to take them all in. While viewing the alligators and animals on your own is cool, these shows allow for a closer look at how amazing these creatures truly are. We were all wowed by the Gator Wrestlin’ show!
- Don’t pack your food. Gatorland is very strict about not allowing outside food in the park for the safety of the animals, and we found the prices for meals and snacks to be very affordable (more so than at other theme parks).
- Do pack your swimsuits! I wish we had done this. There is a very cool splash pad area that would be perfect for taking a break in the middle of the day and allowing the kiddos to cool off and get their wiggles out.
- Look at the gators. Much of Gatorland is a display of different alligators in their habitats. Take the time to walk around and check them all out!
- Plan for either a half-day or a shorter full day. If you have time to spend a full day at Gatorland, go for it! There are lots of other cool experiences you can enjoy outside of viewing the gators and shows–ziplining, seeing the birds, petting the turtles, and more! You could also take a longer break at the splash pad and allow your kids more time to play, which they will love. And then, after enjoying Gatorland to its fullest, head back to the hotel for a night in and an early bedtime–a win-win for everyone in the midst of hitting other theme parks open far later.
- Take lots and lots of pictures! If you’re like me, you probably snap loads on any family outing, but Gatorland offers truly unique photo ops you want to make sure to capture.
- The Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure is a win! This new attraction is full of bumpy, silly fun that was so different than anything else we experienced in Florida and I’m so glad we did it. Our whole family was giggling with the crack-up hosts and the ride was wild. If you want to add an experience to your ticket, this is worth it!
- If you can swing it, the behind-the-scenes experiences (like Adventure Hour and Trainer for a Day) are incredible. I enjoyed getting inside scoop from our personal tour guide (Donny was SUCH a cool, knowledgeable guy!) and asking loads of questions almost as much seeing the alligators up close.
- Pause to check out the history and mission of Gatorland. I know, this might seem boring, especially on a day destined for fun and adventure, but Gatorland’s inception and growth has a really cool story, as well as impressive current education and conservation efforts. Gatorland is truly a fascinating place, and not just because of the creatures who call it home!
Our first-time visit to Gatorland was such a fun experience, and one so very cool in that is different than anything else in Florida. I fully recommend carving out time in your schedule to stop enjoy this one-of-a-kind place and make some special family memories!