Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Janelle Visits: Gatorland

I LOVE Gatorland!
You can read about Daxton and I's previous adventures at Gatorland here and here
When Janelle and I were planning fun things to do while she was here, she mentioned that she'd like to do Orlando and some of the theme parks.  We only had a couple days to drive north and I knew it would be much easier to pack everything in if we weren't toting around a toddler.  We ended up getting babysitters for two full days (Friday and Saturday) and then Dallas was able to watch Daxton on the third day (Sunday).  I have to admit, it was really great to get away.  I love my little man to pieces, but it was nice to have some breathing room and actual privacy in the bathroom!

Janelle and I left early Friday morning and drove the three hours north to Orlando.  We had a bit of a scare with almost running out of gas.  There was a long stretch without any services that we weren't prepared for, needless to say our adventures started early!

When we arrived in Orlando, we went directly to Gatorland.  It only takes 2-3 hours to see everything, including the shows, and it closed at 5, so we wanted to make sure we went there first.  

The mandatory gator mouth entrance picture...

We arrived about 20 minutes before the next gator wrestling show, so we went to find seats first.  The arena was pretty packed (since it was spring break) but we were still able to find great seats to watch the show.  The performers are always super funny and entertaining, which make for great shows.  The stunts and gator wrestling tricks are pretty much the same everywhere we go (north and south Florida) but it's still pretty impressive.  Closer than I'd ever want to get to gators! 

We were able to get our pictures with grown alligators as well.  Gatorland is the only place that I've been to that allows you to do this.  Most places only allow holding baby gators.  The mouths are obviously taped shut, which made us a lot more comfortable to hop on it's back!

I'm a bit excited!

Gatorland had expanded since the last time I'd been, so it was fun to see all the new enclosures and walking paths to explore.  I am so in love with the dense diverse vegetation that covers Florida.  I'm literally in awe of all the beauty constantly surrounding us.

While we were walking along the raised boardwalk paths, we saw several of these signs...not the most reassuring!

We loved all the draping Spanish Moss throughout the park.

Along with several alligators and crocodiles, Gatorland is home to a plethora of birds, reptiles, and other Florida native animals.
I loved the vibrant colored peacocks that roamed freely.

The parrots were gorgeous and I loved how sweet they were with each other.

My favorite is the nature walk along the breeding marsh.  Gatorland has done amazing with the beautiful raised wooden boardwalk that meanders around the perimeter of the lake.  The main tower has incredible views looking out over the park and the boardwalk itself is raised directly above the water, so gators are literally a few feet away.  I also loved the thick vegetation and trees filled with hundreds of diverse birds and nests.

Below are some of my favorite pictures from our nature walk... 

Janelle and I had a super fun afternoon and a great start to our girls weekend away!  Fun is always to be had with Janelle!  

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