Gator skull at Gatorama

Gatorama

Field review by the editors.

Palmdale, Florida

Gatorama was built by legendary Florida Cracker and gator hunter Cecil Clemens in 1957, and retains much of its swampy Florida charm. Now in the hands of the Register family, it's still (some say) the largest alligator farm in the world.

The Registers have pumped up Gatorama's tourist allure with daily feeding shows, including a six-day-a-week meat toss to the biggest gators and crocs on the property. Biggest of all is Goliath, who weighs nearly a ton and has his own pen at the end of the swamp walk, decorated with the skulls of alligators that he's bested in combat. You aren't allowed to get too close, but the elevated walkway over the gator ponds is a good way to view nearby gators from a relatively safe position. Just don't wave your arm or wiggle your butt at a hungry gator -- they can jump.

Gatorama now has an annual festival where visitors hold alligator eggs in their hands while they hatch, and a cafe with gator nuggets, ribs, and tail on the menu. That would all probably seem very strange to Cecil, who had an improvised, adversarial approach to gators and people in his latter years. But it's probably for the best that the attraction now provides safer thrills, and it's great that it's still open.

Also see: Gatorama: Cecil Clemons

Gatorama

Address:
6180 US Hwy 27, Palmdale, FL
Directions:
I-75 exit 141. East on Hwy 80 (Palm Beach Blvd) 24 miles to La Belle, then north on Bridge St. for a mile, then east on Hwy 29 for 13 miles. South on US 27 about 1.5 miles.
Hours:
Daily 10-5, gator shows twice daily (Call to verify)
Phone:
863-675-0623
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

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November 28, 2014

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