Bite into Orlando Fun by Visiting Gatorland with Kids
One question commonly asked by families visiting Florida is, "Where can we go to see alligators?" Look no further than Gatorland Orlando, known as the Alligator Capital of the World. Even as a Florida native, I am still fascinated by our amazing state reptile and love spotting them every chance I get. Gatorland has been a staple in the Central Florida community since 1949. It is one of my family’s favorite places to visit since it includes activities for all ages, from my picky preteen to my curious preschooler! Read on for everything you need to know about visiting Gatorland with kids.
To see more native and exotic wildlife, check out our roundup of the Top Orlando Zoos and More Places to See Animals. Planning an Orlando vacation? Use our Orlando Visitor’s Guide to help plan your trip!
Watch gators as they hang out in the water, waiting for lunch.
Gatorland: Animals Galore
More than 2,000 American alligators call Gatorland home and reside in exhibits throughout the 110-acre park. To see the really big ones, venture to the Alligator Breeding Marsh toward the back of the park and climb the observation tower for great views of the marsh. Kids will love watching the baby gators in the nursery, located near the front of the park. Guests can also see rare albino and leucistic alligators in the White Gator Swamp, as well as a variety of crocodiles such as American, Nile, Cuban, and saltwater varieties in the Jungle Crocs of the World exhibit.
In addition to the crocodilians, guests can visit wild cats such as a servals, panthers, and bobcats, a variety of birds, giant tortoises, snakes, a petting farm, and many other critters.
Gatorland: Best Experiences & Activities
A trip to Gatorland is not complete without watching the amazing shows that the park offers! The Gator Jumparoo show features, as the name suggests, gators jumping up to four feet (or more) out of the water for a meal. Alligators: Legends of the Swamp showcases gator wranglers on stage with 6- to 8-foot-long alligators, and is a great entertaining and educational show for all ages. Guests can pose on the back of an alligator at the end of the show at an additional cost.
There are other animals besides reptiles at Gatorland, like the sweet farm animals in Allie's Barnyard.
Feed and pet goats, llamas, emus, and other farm animals in the newly renovated Allie’s Barnyard petting farm.
Gatorland Express Train
A colorful steam train takes guests on an adventure around the alligator breeding marsh and other animal exhibits. Guests will also learn about the park's history during the ride. Additional fee.
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Thrill seekers can soar on the Screamin' Gator Zipline at heights of up to 65 feet over alligators and crocodiles. An accessible zip line experience is also available for guests with mobility challenges. There is no age restriction to ride the zipline, but guests must be at least 36 inches tall. Children ages 8 and under must be accompanied by a participating adult. Additional fee.
Climb aboard an off-road monster truck through a swampy adventure complete with singing tour guides. Additional fee.
The park offers several unique experiences that are perfect for creating lifelong memories! Guests can hold an alligator or a snake for a photo, safely feed young gators, and pose just feet away from a group of giant gators in the breeding marsh. Additional fee.
Explore a pristine area of Florida's wetland during the Swamp Walk.
Take stroll along the 1.4-mile loop boardwalk trail over real Florida wetlands that serve as the headwaters to the Florida Everglades. The path offers a glimpse of what much of Orlando looked like before it was developed.
Cool down in the Gator Gully Splash Park after warming under the Florida sun.
Gator Gully Splash Park & Playground
After walking around the park, kids can cool off at the ultra-fun splash pad with tons of interactive water elements for loads of wet and wild fun! There is a playground right next to the splash pad as well. Be sure to bring a bathing suit or change of clothes!
Gatorland: Getting a Bite
Gatorland has several options for guests to purchase food and refreshments. Pearl’s Good Eats is open for lunch and dinner and includes options such as hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, and more. Be sure to also order some of Pearl’s famous fried gator nuggets! The eatery is located near the White Gator Swamp, and picnic tables are located in a nearby screened enclosure.
Near the Gatorland entrance is a snack bar offering corn dogs, chili dogs, macaroni and cheese, ice cream, and more. Those who crave caffeine can head to the park's coffee shop, located near the petting zoo, and choose from a variety of coffee-based beverages and other refreshments. Lastly, there is a general store offering cold drinks and ice cream.
Baby alligators relax on a dock.
Gatorland: Helpful Tips with Kids
- Gatorland Orlando is located in South Orlando on Orange Blossom Trail, about 15-20 minutes from Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld. Gatorland is open 365 days a year from 10am to 5pm, with free on-site parking.
- Special admission deals are often offered for Florida residents. Non-residents should check Gatorland’s website for printable coupons and save money by purchasing advance tickets online.
- Plan to spend 5-6 hours to experience the full park.
- Closed-toed shoes are required for the Screamin’ Gator zipline.
- Pretty much everything to do at Gatorland is outdoors, so be prepared for the Florida elements with sunscreen, ponchos, etc.
- Bring swimsuits for the splash pad; however there is a drying station if you forget.
- Outside food and beverages are not allowed in the park, for the well being of the resident animals.
- Stroller and wheelchair rentals are available at the park.
- View School of Croc videos on the Gatorland YouTube channel to prepare for your visit, or just to get a virtual Gatorland fix!
Unless noted, photos by the author