The Sumter County entertainment world is getting a new addition…GatorWorld Parks of Florida.
The brand new drive-through alligator park is opening its gates to visitors of all ages. The park has more than 400 alligators on-hand in the 15-acre park located just west of Interstate 75,
along State Route 44. It’s a unique adventure park, designed to showcase the wonders of Florida by catering to an interest widespread among Sunshine State visitors…the opportunity to see, and engage with, alligators in a real life setting. Local businessman and GatorWorld Parks developer Don Buckner has created this new attraction as not only an entertainment venue, but a sanctuary and rescue facility as well. “The way we acquire alligators for the park is to purchase them from trappers who might otherwise euthanize them,” Buckner notes, “and we also purchase smaller gators from harvesting operations planning to use them as material for products.”
Entering GatorWorld through the main gateway from Highway 44 puts you on a scenic gravel roadway snaking through the front end of the park, providing views of the gators lounging in roadside pools (behind fencing, of course). The specially-constructed pools are surrounded by common areas for the gators to wander, simulating their natural environment.
At the end of the drive-through course, though, is where the action begins. Here, visitors can feed a gator from a raised platform, dangling a pole over a swirling collection of young gators looking forward anxiously to a treat! It’s a unique feature that combines the visual excitement of a live gator encounter with the experience of making contact with a member of one of the oldest reptilian species nature has to offer. Other activities designed to make the GatorWorld Parks experience complete include being able to hold a gator (safely, of course) and to have a souvenir photo taken with the Park’s own “Big Al”—a giant gator just waiting to make your acquaintance.
Visitors also can spend time in GatorWorld Parks’ petting zoo, where a collection of small and cuddly animals await their attention and where they can get to know “Elvis” the goat. Of course, there will be opportunities to feed and interact with all the animals and, as an added attraction, spend time with “Biscuit” at the Bunny Barn and hold a live (and very friendly) rabbit.
The entry fee for the drive-through is $9 per adult, with discounts for veterans, children, and Seniors. The park’s website—GatorWorldParks.com—provides complete detail on the pricing, including rates for an all-inclusive “Everything” package.
The park will be open Monday through Saturday at 9:00 am, closing at 5:00 pm in the winter season and 7:00 pm in summer. GatorWorld Parks is closed Sundays year-round.