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Gator Zip Lines: Let The Reptile Snack Rivalry Begin

It was only a matter of time before some savvy attraction owner saw the possibilities in combining an aerial obstacle course with a pit of toothy alligators.

Zip line over gator.As with other moments of illumination, it came to not one, but two visionaries simultaneously. And it occurred in that balmy incubator of classic tourism: Florida.

So now there’s “Crocodile Crossing” at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. And, in three months, “Screamin’ Gator” at Gatorland in Kissimmee.

Crocodile Crossing is the first out of the chute and over the gators. St. Augustine Alligator Farm stresses that the course provides a workout as well as a monkey’s-eye view — with loose bridges, swinging logs, and tightropes as well as the zip lines. It steers clear of the most dangerous parts of the park — the gator swamp and the pool of the Farm’s biggest gator, Maximo — which may lessen its allure to some thrill-seekers.

Screamin’ Gator —  scheduled to open in mid-June — is positioning itself more as a thrill ride than a test of alligator-avoidance skills. Its peak will reportedly be about 10 feet higher than Crocodile Crossing, and it eschews variety for longer, faster zip lines. Although well above the leaping range of any hungry reptile, Screamin’ Gator does not cross the Gator Jumparoo pond, but it does fly over one end of Gatorland’s big breeding lagoon and skim past its alligator wrestling arena.

Florida is certainly big enough for two alligator zip line attractions, and we eagerly await new and inventive applications of this aerial approach. A zip line over the La Brea Tar Pits, perhaps? Or the sulfurous hell-cracks of Centralia?

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