Gatorland from the forties to the present day.

Florida Guide > Florida History

Gatorland was a long time from inception in Frank Godwins back garden to the beginnings of the park as we know it today but by 1962 Frank had travelled the world in search of an exotic addition to his park and he came back with some zebras.

13 years later in went the boardwalk which made navigating the park so much easier.

If you have already visited this park a highlight of the day is seeing the alligators leap for their lunch. Their meal consists of whole chickens suspended on wire high above the water. This was in place from the early days.

When the opportunity came up to buy the adjoining land they snapped it up.

This gave them room to re home a rescued Black Bear that had been kept in an illegally small enclosure. The bear is called Judy.

The nineties were a time of huge expansion. They improved and enlarged the railway, installed an alligator wrestling area and created a breeding marsh.

The breeding marsh has its observation points but it allows the alligators to reproduce in ideal conditions. Gatorland have been very much in the forefront of alligator conservation.

The Snakes of Florida exhibit opened in 1992 and features Rat Snakes and Cotton Mouth Mocassins among many others.

In the mid nineties the park was gifted a Giant Red Tail Hawk. This magnificent bird has a 48 inch wing span.

And talking of birds, through this decade a giant rookery started forming. This is thought to be the largest in Florida and the reason for them making this area their home is the protection that the alligators give them.

Frank Godwin junior stood aside to allow his son in law to take the reins. He came with impeccable credentials having been a curator at the rival Seaworld. His experience has added immeasuably to Gatorlands educational slant.

Alligator Alley was added under his guidance which is an educational, interactive experience for children.

As we come to the end of the nineties they included some camel rides, iguanas and a turtle pond.

As we turn into the new century some rare white alligators have made their home here. This varity of gator are the largest in the world and weigh in at around 400 pounds and stand 12 feet tall.

And to get us bang up to date a zip line is going to be added this summer. The line will be 12000 feet long and suspended 65 feet in the air.

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