If you’re looking for a genuine Florida experience and your kids love reptiles, you’ve got to head to Gatorland in Orlando. Many tourists don’t realize that Gatorland has been educating guests about alligators since 1949. Since then, they welcome guests of all ages on a daily experience to learn, play and discover more about native Florida reptiles that are often misunderstood. Wondering if Gatorland is worth it, with kids? I’m breaking down everything you need to know when planning your visit.
Is Gatorland Worth It? Best Tips For Planning Your Visit With Kids
Gatorland is located off of Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando and it’s only a 15-20 minute drive from Walt Disney World resort and Sea World. If you’re carving out your vacation time, allow for at least three hours to and from those resort locations. If you flew into Orlando, it’s a budget-friendly Uber or Lyft drive too.
Best Gatorland Experiences For Kids
We took a multigenerational trip to Gatorland and they had something for everyone of all ages. Our three-year-old and six-year-old both enjoyed several highlights throughout the park, where we had a tough time pulling them away for other experiences. Check out these top recommended experiences for kids:
- Special Animal Encounters: My oldest son was dying to hold to a baby alligator and his dream came true. Learn about the animals that call Gatorland home, take photos and get hands-on.
- Gatorland Express: Take a relaxing train ride around the park, as a family. Learn more about the park’s history and, during their Gators, Ghosts and Goblins Halloween event, you can play a scavenger hunt while riding.
- Gator Feedings: Kids can safely feed young gators with help from the trainers. Youth of all ages can participate, with the help of parents or guardians. Have your camera ready for some fun photos too.
- Breeding Marsh: Take a walk and visit the Breeding Marsh, located in the back of the park, for some extra-large size fun. If you’re kids are looking for the “big ones” that’s where you’re going to find them! Seasonal events include educational enrichment activities (like tossing watermelons or pumpkins for them to play with… and chomp).
- Shows For All Ages: There are different shows throughout the day (always check the daily park schedule) to entertain guests that include gators, tropical birds, snakes and more.
- Gator Gully Splash Pad Area: Kids can cool off at the Gatorland Splash Pad area, which is a nice break from the heat and a great way to burn off some energy.
What To Bring With You On Your Trip
If you’re planning a full or half day trip to Gatorland, and you’re traveling away from your resort area, you’ll want to be prepared. Wear closed-toe shoes (which are required for the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line – extra charge), bring extra sunscreen and stay hydrated. Parents might want to pack an extra change of clothes if you plan to utilize the splash pad area, but they have a drying station as well. Lockers and changing rooms are available.
You’ll be outside for the majority of the time and you’ll want to be prepared for the Florida heat. Fortunately, many of the walkways are covered for guests and there’s plenty of seating for when you need to take a break.
Lastly, be prepared for their amazing gift shop. Our oldest son, who is our biggest alligator fan, said the gift shop was “a dream come true” and we were able to purchase several fun souvenirs for him.
Gatorland Food & Drink Options
Gatorland does have several outdoor areas where guests can purchase refreshments and snacks. The Walking Taco, Frito Pie and Bratwurst are snack options that are available for purchase, from $5.99 – $7.99.
Pearl’s Good Eats, named after the founder’s wife, is open for lunch and dinner. The menu is full of family favorites including hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, ice cream and more. They’re famous for their fried gator nuggets though (and no, they don’t use their own gators). Don’t expect typical overpriced food like other theme parks, everything is budget-friendly, which helps make Gatorland worth it.
Is Admission To Gatorland Worth It?
Absolutely, YES! You’ll be paying for one of the most reasonably priced adventures in Orlando and they’re always offering seasonal fun too. They have different packages with add-on experiences and Florida residents discount prices. Many of the seasonal events, like Gators, Ghosts and Goblins are included with your park admission too. Plus, you don’t need a reservation to get in.
Gatorland Covid-19 Safety Protocols
The park takes guest’s safety very seriously and has many safety protocols in place to keep guests feeling secure. Per Orange County Executive Order, face masks are required upon park entry. All queues and exhibit areas are clearly marked for proper social distancing.
Rides are sanitized between guests and are used at a reduced capacity to ensure a safe distance between passengers. Outdoor hand washing stations and hand sanitizer is available throughout the park (and easy to find). All employees must adhere to daily temperature checks, along with guests entering the park.
Our family felt very comfortable at Gatorland and it’s clear that cleanliness and guest safety is highly important to their team.
Gators, Ghosts and Goblins Halloween At Gatorland
Weekends through October to early November, guests can experience Gators, Ghosts and Goblins at Gatorland. It’s their signature Halloween event that’s family-friendly too. Dress up and experience all of Gatorland’s great exhibits, plus some seasonal highlights.
There’s photo opportunities, a scavenger hunt on the Gatorland Express and special animal encounters. Plus, enjoy Octoberfest as part of the fun with live music and German food. It’s included with your admission.
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