Vagabond in America 2016 travel blog

Gator Wrestling

Tourist vs Alligator

Humorous Sign

My son photographing a parrot

Feeding the 'gators

My duaghter-in-law feeding the 'gators

My first stop in 2016 was Gatorland in Orlando, Florida.

I picked up my son and his wife at the Orlando International Airport, then we headed to Gatorland as tourists.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much there was to see there. The quantity and variety of both crocodiles and alligators was amazing. They had many other animals to see as well.

There was the expected "Gator Wrestlin' Show". The handler let audience members pick out an alligator and then proceeded to demonstrate what he could do with it. This included forcing it's mouth open and rolling it over onto it's back.

After that show they had "Rookie Wrestling". They offered some of the tourists (who had paid a small extra fee) to pose as if they were doing the gator wrestling themselves. (For the tourists, the handlers had discretely taped the alligator's mouth shut, making it far less dangerous than it appeared in photos.)

Their other big event was the "Gator Jumparoo Show". In this case, the handlers feed the largest and meanest of the alligators by stringing raw meat on a wire and holding it high above the alligators.

In the "Gator Chow" event, they allowed some of us tourists (for an extra fee) to hand feed some of the medium-size alligators. There was a comforting fence between the tourists and the alligators. To our surprise, we had to cross to the dangerous side of the fence to feed the alligators! Nothing between us and the alligators. Our only protection was a thin stick held by the guide. I guess that was all that was needed to keep them from approaching closer.

I hadn't expected that there would be much to do at Gatorland. But, we wound up spending the entire day there.

Next stop: Walt Disney World

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