Afraid of alligators? The only mouth that’s going to eat you here is the giant one you have to walk through at the front entrance. It may not be as loud as Universal Studios, but Gatorland in Orlando can certainly be as fun. The “Alligator Capital of the World,” as it’s often called, has thousands of little (and not so little) gators and crocodiles.
Who doesn’t want to see a bit of gator wrestlin’? You can watch a wrangler catch, tickle, and perform stunts with an enormous alligator – while you sit comfortably in the shaded stands, of course. You can also see trainers feed gators from their hands, often with the latter jumping several feet out of the water.
There are plenty of other animals too – the “Upclose Encounters” program usually has some cool critters (i.e., deadly snakes), and there’s even a petting zoo. But if it’s something specific the kids want to do, make sure and time your visit with the hourly schedule; shows begin at set times during the day. Showing them a few cool spots on the map might be a good way to get the young ones excited enough to forget about the Mouse (if only temporarily).
Older kids (12+) might enjoy the Trainer-For-A-Day program, which brings them behind-the-scenes for closer experiences with the animals.
Parents will definitely enjoy the lack of never-ending lines/ubiquitous vendors/chaos in general. For a more low-key alternative to the bustle of those bigger-name tourist parks, Gatorland is a safe bet for an unusual day out.