Friday, December 6, 2013

Orlando with the Stokers: Gatorland

Our last fun adventure, while in Orlando with Kate and her boys, was to explore Gatorland.  I had previously visit Gatorland back in 2010 when I visited Florida with my good friend Tracy.  We ended up having a total blast and I knew that our boys would too.

Goofing off at the entrance to Gatorland  

Snuggles are oh so close to choke holds at this height difference!  But Daxton loved hanging with Tommy and would follow him around everywhere.

Gatorland is a funny little theme park.  It really is beautiful and is the best place to observe and have close contact with numerous alligators.  I love how all of the walkways are wooden platforms built above water, so you can see gators from every angle.  It's also amazingly child proof, so the kids literally run wild up and down the walkways (glad it wasn't crowded for that reason!)

Absolutely adore this silly pic below!
Love our sweet and sweaty boys

Looking into the young alligator habitat.

Running free!

We decided to take the small train ride around the park, which the boys thought was great.  Although the picture below shows a very tired and sweaty Daxton...nap time + 90 degrees + 100% humidity...yuck!

Holding a baby alligator...
Daxton was a bit sleepy to enjoy it!

They also have an alligator jumping show that I had seen while visiting with Tracy, but this time we missed it and didn't want to wait around til the next show a few hours later.  The boys had fun looking through the glass down at the enormous gators anyway though.

The highlight of our day was the gator wrestling show.  Tommy was pulled out of the audience and asked to help pick out the gator.  He was so brave and even got the chance to go in the gator wrestling pit.  He was pretty proud of himself, for good reason, and had the biggest smile of his face for the rest of the day!

Daxton was at the perfect height for viewing at the fence.  I'm sure his pudgy arms looked pretty tempting to the gators below!  It was pretty funny to watch his reaction to everything.  He didn't move at all and loved watching the gators chomp.

Pretty impressive gator wrestling moves!
Kate decided to leave at nap time to get a head start on their drive back to Gainesville.  But I wasn't quite done exploring.  By that time, Daxton was sleeping soundly in his stroller so I figured I would continue checking out the different wildlife and trails available.  I loved walking through the parrot habitat with all their gorgeous colors.

There was also a small pier built into the lake that you could feed the alligators off of.  It was funny to watch all the different birds trying to steal the food before it reached the gators mouths.  They are pretty brave to simply ride along on the gators' backs!

Hands down, what I love most about Gatorland, are the gorgeous walking trails throughout the park.  There is an entire preserve behind the park that has several different wooden raised walkways.  It is absolutely gorgeous and filled with all sorts of wildlife.  When I first explored with Tracy back in 2010, we found hundreds of birds' nests filled with hatching eggs.

Can you see the gators resting in the lake below?

All of the walkways were raised above the water to allow gators free roam.  It was crazy to all of a sudden look to your side and notice a large gator within inches of your feet.

We loved watching for all the different birds.

So many gators!!

It was the perfect ending to a very fun few days with Kate and her boys.  What a blessing it's been to have them in Florida with us!
Not too bad for Daxton and I's first week with Daddy gone!

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