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Up Close Encounters at Gatorland in Kissimmee

When I say that there are a lot of alligators at Gatorland in Kissimmee, Florida, I mean that there are A LOT OF ALLIGATORS.

alligators at gatorland park

Everywhere you turn in Gatorland in Kissimmee, there are alligators. And more alligators. And then even more alligators.

There are literally thousands of alligators at Gatorland – they don’t call it “The Alligator Capital of the World” for nothing!

Gatorland even has a few crocodiles!

crocodiles at gatorland park in kissimmee

As soon as you arrive at Gatorland, make sure to grab a map and check out the showtime schedule. There are various shows throughout the day, including an Alligator Wrestling Show, the Gator Jumparoo Show and Up Close Encounters.

While I was visiting Gatorland, I was lucky enough to experience all three shows!

The Gator Jumparoo Show involves several wildlife handlers reaching out and offering the alligators whole chickens, and the gators must jump up and grab them out of their hands.

It’s not a job I would apply for…

jumparoo show at gatorland park in kissimmee

The up close encounters were more my speed. My first “encounter” was jumping on the back of a very large, very intimidating alligator in the wrestling pin.

What can I say, I like to live on the edge…also? His handler was only three feet away, just out of frame in this photo!

animal encounters at gatorland park in kissimmee

Don’t worry, the alligator’s mouth was taped shut!

My hands were conveniently placed over the tape so that it didn’t show in the photo. I like to live on the edge, but not that close to the edge!

I also had a little meet and greet with a blue tongued skink.

I thought it would make for a really cute photo if I pretended like I was about to give him a kiss – and that’s when that famous blue tongue stuck out and I realized he had a much longer tongue that I thought!

up close animal encounters at gatorland

I left the really crazy stunts up to the professionals.

Because I value my life.

alligators at gatorland park in kissimmee

One of the most impressive things about Gatorland in Kissimmee – aside from being home to thousands of alligators, that is – is the amount of wildlife that call Gatorland home.

Everywhere you look, you will find beautiful birds perched in the trees along the swamp banks.

Created in 1991 as an alligator breeding marsh, the famous Gatorland Bird Rookery has grown into one of the largest bird rookeries in Florida. The protected area provides a safe place for birds to nest, forage, and roost within Gatorland.

You can find over 20 different species of birds at Gatorland, many of which are listed as Endangered or Species of Special Concern. Bird watching is such an important part of Gatorland that they even offer a special photographers pass and special hours so that photographers can come in early to take advantage of the best daylight hours!

wildlife at gatorland park in kissimmee

You can find out more about all of the adventure that awaits you at Gatorland.com.

Gatorland Hours and Admission Information

Gatorland is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Admission Pricing:

  • Adults: Day Pass $24.99 Annual Pass $45.99
  • Children (3-12): Day Pass $16.99 Annual Pass $31.99
  • Children under 3 are free!

Written by Jenn, author of The Rebel Chick and Happy Travels, a travel-loving mom living in sunny South Florida. You can follow Jenn on Facebook or on Twitter @TheRebelChick.

My travel and accommodation while in Kissimmee were paid for by Experience Kissimmee, but all opinions are my own.
About Crystal

Crystal Reagan, the owner and founder of SimplyBeingMommy.com lives in Small Town, Texas with her husband and 3 children. Crystal and her website have been featured on local and national news stations including Channel 2 Houston and ABC News. She has also appeared on BetterTV as a Mommy Expert for VTech.


  1. 1

    I seen some neat gators in Florida last year. Was brave enough to try eating it too. I would LOVE to checkout Gatorland.

  2. 2

    I totally wanna check out Gatorland if we ever make it to Florida for a vacation.

  3. 3

    This looks really fun! Love all the gators.

  4. 4

    Wow! That is awesome!! So cool to have that picture!

  5. 5

    Sounds like scary fun, but no thank you! ~lol~

  6. 6

    I’m not sure a taped mouth would even be enough to get me to wrestle a gator, lol.

  7. 8

    EEEK — um, no. LOL

  8. 9

    I would freak out seeing all those gators! It would ve fun to hold the baby one though!

  9. 10

    I could not do it! Gators scare me so much! Maybe I could have done the baby. Maybe.

  10. 11

    This actually looks like so much fun! We are heading to Kissimmee in May and looking for things to do so I will definitely have to check this out.

  11. 12

    The boys and I loved our trip here. So much fun!

  12. 13

    Oh my gosh!!! I’d be behind a safety gate lol

  13. 14

    Wowza, Jenn you are one brave woman. No way on earth I would do it but I would seriously love to see other people do that, lol.

  14. 15

    This looks like so much fun!

  15. 16

    Not for me, but my daughter would LOVE it. She would be trying to grab all the dang gators :/

  16. 17

    Looks like a lot of fun!

  17. 18

    This is the sort of things my sons love at this age

  18. 19

    Omgosh thats crazy. I’ve been close to a baby one and saw them in a river bed next to me but oh boy sitting on one I’m not so sure about that

  19. 20

    My kids would enjoy visiting.

  20. 21

    OMG what a great photo for later in life. Your grandkids are going to think you were so cool – which you are of course. Several years ago I got to hold a baby gator when I went on a swamp tour.

  21. 22

    We visited a similar place at Myrtle Beach and my son loved it! I’m not as brave as you, Jenn… I will NOT be wrestling any gators. 🙂

  22. 23

    After reading that it’s mouth was taped shut, I think I could totally do that. At first I was like she is one brave and crazy woman! Lol.

  23. 24

    Looks like an amazing experience! Not sure if I would be alright with being that up close and personal with a gator, even if it’s mouth was taped.

  24. 25

    Even with it’s mouth taped shut, there’s no way I would get on the back of an alligator! You are brave!

  25. 26

    We are from CA & visited Gatorland 9 years ago! Our kids loved it!

  26. 27

    I think this would be such a fun place to visit!

  27. 28

    I have always been SO afraid of alligators/crocodiles but I still want to visit that place!

  28. 29

    I have always been SO afraid of alligators/crocodiles but I still want to visit that place!

  29. 30

    I am used to the Gators in Florida. We actually rented one for a movie that we did in Stuart, Florida. I was not as bad as you would expect. I went to Gatorland when I was a kid and would definitely go to again.

  30. 31

    Cool pictures. What memories I am sure you made.

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