Skip to main content

Re-Visiting Gatorland

There is a lot to like about Gatorland, beginning with the admission price for Florida residents. Admittedly, they are nothing like the "new kids on the block", Sea World, Disney and the like, so they can charge less, but $10? You can't go wrong. Plus they don't charge a thing for parking, a practice I am fully on board with; parking charges are highway robbery in my book.

Arriving at 9:40, I discovered they did not open until 10, so I stood in a very small line with mostly British tourists. Maybe ten minutes later, after finishing their preparations, two friendly women opened their windows, took our money, and welcomed us to Gatorland with a smile. Imagine that.

The first thing you see is a whole pile of gators, mostly who look like they may not really be alive. Perhaps it was the slightly cooler weather, but a few of them seemed downright lively:
Of course these are the youngsters, the big boys mostly hang out in the water. Because I was lucky enough to get an awesome gator shot on a previous visit, my mission was to see the new panthers, or at least new to me. I made a beeline to their freshly built area, previously home to some sandhill cranes.
Although the glare makes it a bit hard to read, what you really ought to know is that they are rescued cats, a brother and sister. Here's Neiko looking very serious:
In case you are wondering, there is a window that you have to shoot through to get shots of them. There was a mixture of sun and clouds, which at times made it easier to put my lens directly on the window to avoid the glare, but not entirely. This is Florida, after all...bright sunshine is the rule. So, Neiko followed Lucy over to the pond area, and I spent some time watching him groom her:
They are such beautiful big cats, so clean! Here's Lucy keeping it cool under a palm a little later:
Because the exhibit is new, the glass is not scratched, making it ideal for photographing. This was the highlight of my short trip, but I did see some other cool stuff because for the first time ever, I RODE THE TRAIN!
For the bargain price of two dollars you may ride it as many times as you'd like. Why haven't I done this before? The young man driving the train doubles as a gator wrestler, when he's not narrating the park's history. Every single visit I am impressed with how genuine the employees seem to be, and how much it appears that they like being there. He took me around the back side while telling me how the founder used to take a big alligator in a trailer up the Eastern Seaboard in the early 50's, charging a dime to see the gator. Seems like a brilliant marketing plan to me. Apparently it worked because here it is more than 60 years later and they are still growing. I had the train all to myself!
Mostly undeveloped, but there are some white tailed deer, whose pictures did not turn out, and two "cracker cows".
Following my ride, I walked on the boardwalk over the gator breeding marsh:
Along the way there are loads of snowy egrets protecting their nests. My driver mentioned that the birds have been laying more eggs than usual this summer.
I'm pretty confident it was my first time seeing this great horned owl, who pretty much stared at me  during my attempts to take the photograph.
A stop at the petting zoo area which is always entertaining:
I can't decide just what kind of animal this is, because it looks like a cross between a cow and a donkey.  Any ideas?
That is some tongue isn't it?

I always make a stop to see the flamingos who are getting an upgrade in their living quarters, or so I learned from another friendly employee.
Hanging around the flamingo area:
If Bruce were here, which he is not, he'd be able to identify the fish for me. Mostly I haven't seen him all week as he was in Houston for two days, home for the meeting on Wednesday, and back to Houston until later tonight. Fish in the water are mighty hard to photograph so I was pleased to get something on that shot.

I wanted one last look at the cats before leaving; Neiko was resting inside, while Lucy remained under the palms. Adjacent to their area is the housing for several Python Reticulatus,  better known as big huge snakes!
That mouth looks seriously scary to me!

Just the opposite in temperament, nearby there are three giant tortoises, one of which was on the move, albeit slowly, while I was there.
For less than the price of a movie I was able to see life in action, thanks to our good neighbors at Gatorland.
Did you enjoy your virtual visit? I hope so. Because the price is so low, and it is so close, spending two hours there is very convenient, and guess what? They gave me a pass for a return visit for free! Crazy, huh?

Speaking of neighbors, the movers just left with the packed truck. 909 Appleton is officially now a shell waiting for the next folks to make it a home once again. I sure hope I like them. :)
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Photograph Overload

Don't say I did not warn you!!

Firstly, I wonder what Spring is going to be like, having already mostly experienced it this Winter.

And we are off on some adventures!!

I hardly know where to start, but perhaps we will go backward in there anyone amongst my readers that live in Central Florida that does not like azalea blooming time? I should hope not.
Then too, the camellias are blooming everywhere, and what's not to like about that? Not a thing my friends.
Both of these photographs were taken in the back yard of my new friends that have the house where the Eagle has landed. This morning, instead of putting it off, I took off on my bicycle just as the sun was rising. It was plenty warm already, so there were no excuses to be found. Riding as fast as I could to the Lake Conway ramp, the sun had just broken the horizon creating a beautiful rosy glow.
Eagle hunting followed, and sure enough it was way up in the Pine tree, basically the usual spot, except when it is not…

Doings in Orlando

"Cheryle, are you kidding me? You want me to come help YOU decorate your tree?" Desperate is what she was, because if anyone knows how to decorate, it is Cheryle! cool is this? Before you even go inside you have awesome things to look at, including this cool "tree" she copied from a small version found in a Crate & Barrel catalog.
Super great red lighting on the palms..Christmas, Florida style.
Friends helping friends might be how you would describe the gumbo she made from Pam's turkey carcass. Following the gumbo, we set to work while Bruce watched television following a busy week. David, Cheryle's husband, has a full schedule singing in various choirs during the holidays including the Bach choir, directed by none other than the music minister at our new church. Having lived for much of her adult life in Chicago, it was only fitting that this, in the year of the Cubs big World Series win, be the first ornament on the tree.
Saturday I sp…

Drive, Eat, Sleep--Repeat

Technically I did none of the driving, but the title wouldn't be near as catchy if I'd included riding, don't you think?

So, the yard is cleaned of storm debris, the pool is clean, the laundry is going, and I've been to Dr. Parillo for a follow-up visit. Now it is time to blog!!

Let us get started with the statistics of our fantastic journey:

We flew 892 miles to Cinncinatti.We flew 1,318 miles home from Manchester, NHBruce drove 1,300 miles!We traveled in parts of six states, as well as CanadaOur interstate traveling was at a bare minimum allowing us to go through countless towns, villages, and beautiful countryside From my window seat.... So that's the dry stuff, let's get into the good stuff, shall we? I heard from a few of you that you could not wait to see the photographs from the trip which was a very nice thing to hear.  I hope you are not disappointed, because not only did I not take a gazillion photos, the ones I did are just so-so for various reasons, …