The good Lord knows that of all the things I’m afraid of in life, that right after snakes in my toilet, alligators and crocodiles are right up there. I have fears people. Deep, irrational fears. Just how do you get over a fear of things that can eat you? Well, in my case you go on a crazy girls trip with your friends and visit Gatorland. Yup, the very place your toothy nightmares reside.
First, let’s meet Chester. Chester was caught near Tampa after a number of large dogs went missing. Tsk tsk, Chester. Gatorland was called in to rescue Chester after the locals decided it was time to make some purses out of him. Upon his arrival at Gatorland, it was quickly determined that Chester didn’t play nice with others and needed to be segregated from the other gators. Chester, my friends, is the stuff of my nightmares. Naturally then, I stepped into his cage and stood ten feet from him.
Did you hear that hissing sound? Still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. *shiver*
There is no doubt that standing so close to Chester helped calm and oddly enough, at the same time, reaffirm my fears. Yup, these pre-historic reptiles have surly attitudes and sharp teeth. So, it goes without saying that when at Gatorland you should probably go ziplining over them. Just to say you did it, of course.
The Screamin’ Gator Zip Line at Gatorland is 1200 ft of zip line on which you scream. Sometimes these things just name themselves. See? That’s me there above, half screaming, half laughing, half shipping my pants. There are, after all, gaping gators below me. Like you wouldn’t be doing the same thing? And what am I going to do the first chance I get upon our return to Kissimmee? I’m taking my children on this because they are going to love it!! Despite the scary name, it’s really quite safe and I’m looking forward to beating them on the zipline race across gators because that’s the kind of mom I am.
Of course, in order to really conquer my fear, I had to wrestle a gator. I think I’ll have the kids do this too. Best to get over these things young I say.
Gatorland, isn’t all gators and crocs though. I got in touch with my sweet, innocent Snow White side there.
I also fell in love with a tortoise. At 100 years old and counting, I’m thinking he’ll be waiting for me when I return.
Most of all though, I fell in love with the whole vibe at Gatorland. A family run business since 1949, and filled with loyal, happy employees, Gatorland is a Florida icon. This is where I hang my head in shame and say that sadly I’d poo-poo’d it for the last 10 years we’ve been visiting Kissimmee thinking it would be boring. I could not have been more wrong.
Gatorland is an amazing wildlife preserve with a unique educational and fun atmosphere for all ages. Before I left I was making plans to return again. So, I would say to anyone now that if you’re heading to Kissimmee and you miss out on Gatorland, you’ve missed one of the best things this area has to offer.