Gator World

A little bit about GatorWorld Parks of Florida, we are a “Discover Authentic Old Florida Culture”, one-of-a-kind, a little off the beaten path, new attraction with the World’s ONLY Drive-thru Alligator park. We have a 15 acre Alligator Sanctuary with over 400 rescued gators and are a no-kill park.

Our attraction is a drive through attraction as opposed to a destination attraction like the larger theme parks. Research shows that when people come to Florida, they want to see the major theme parks, the beach, and alligators – and in that order. Vacationers seem to have the money, but not the time to do all 3, so our drive-through Gator attraction was designed to fill that niche. You can expect your visit to last about 1.5 hours.. it all depends on how long you wish to enjoy the animals and if you can get the kids out of the petting zoo.

Entering the park through the main gateway puts you on a scenic gravel roadway snaking through the front end of the park under massive arching live oak trees full of hanging moss and providing views of our monster gators lounging in roadside pools. The specially-constructed pools are surrounded by common areas for the gators to wander, simulating their natural environment. You view our largest gators from the convenience of your air-conditioned car or bus.

At the end of the tour you can get out and see younger gators, feed some gators and hold a gator. The park is very kid friendly and our staff are welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable about the animals. We offer our guests no rushing, no lines and personal attention from our staff. We have lots of farm animals in our petting zoo and an awesome Bunny Barn with lots of soft baby bunnies to pet.

Our general admission ticket price include:

  • FREE parking
  • FREE gator food for our guests to feed the gators FREE souvenir photos of our guests holding an alligator
  • Access to the drive-thru
  • Access to the petting zoo and bunny barn

In addition to working with FIT’s, We are an excellent add-on for GIT and bus tour. We are easy access on and off I-75. We are only 1 mile off the interstate on State Road 44 near Orlando FL. While we do not yet sell food in our park, we are within 1 mile or so of 15+ restaurants and fast food. We have large parking areas to accommodate buses, and hit the southern going traffic on I-75 just before you have to decide if your going to Orlando or Tampa.

We are easily packaged with area attractions such as swimming with the manatees and airboat rides to make a full day of “Discovering Old Florida Culture”. We are approximately 45 minutes from International Drive in Orlando.

Additionally, as a way to show our appreciation to our military, we offer FREE entrance to our U.S. Active Duty military personnel and Gold Star spouses with a valid military ID.

The Idea

In 2000, Don Buckner (founder and owner) was invited to join (then) Governor Jeb Bush as part of a Trade Delegation visiting South America. One of the groups that were with them on the trip was the Orlando Tourism Commission, during which he took part in discussions about tourist interests in Florida and some simple facts came to light and was that there were three common denominators for tourist visits and that was—Theme Parks, beaches, and alligators. Those discussions planted the seed. Almost all Florida visitors seem to have seeing an alligator on their bucket list!

That was an “Aha!” moment for Don, along with the realization that there was a need to create a quick and easy—and low-cost—way for visitors to check the alligator experience off their list. Realizing that there are several ways to accomplish an alligator sighting, like full-day park visits, airboat tours, and begging a family member to take them out in the lake to try to spot an Alligator, it became obvious that none of these were especially quick and easy. With the light bulb shining bright, Don Trademarked the name GatorWorld, and the concept of a “drive-through” alligator-themed venue was born. Our attraction is a drive through attraction as opposed to a destination attraction like the larger theme parks.

The Approach

For GatorWorld Parks, this vision involved viewing the objective through the eyes of a tourist. “What a Florida tourist really wants,” suggests Don, “is to be able to have the ‘Gator Experience’ in a setting that is quick and easy, but that doesn’t consume a lot of time and money.” He boils the experience down to providing a way to “see a gator, hold a gator, feed a gator” in the most authentic and simplest of settings. But in crafting the approach, Don realized that GatorWorld Parks presented an opportunity to be more than just an entertainment setting. And the alligator sanctuary was born.

“The way we acquire alligators for the park is to purchase (*nuisance alligators) from trappers who would otherwise euthanize them,” he notes, “and we also purchase smaller gators from harvesting operations planning to use them as materials for products.” We additionally purchased the gators from an alligator farm going out of business. Those alligators would have all been harvested too. He quickly realized that the park could serve a dual purpose as a tourist attraction and a sanctuary for rescued alligators.

*In Florida, you can assume there is an alligator in every body of water in the state….and there are a lot of lakes and ponds and waterways in Florida. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Alligators may be considered a nuisance when they are at least four feet in length and pose a threat to people or their pets or property. When an alligator gets to be about 5 feet in length (around 5 years old) they are like teenagers, the testosterone kicks in, they become aggressive, and are much more likely to come out of the pond and try to snatch your pets.

Millennials want to be impacted when they vacation. They enjoy the fact that the park is an alligator sanctuary and no kill park and have no qualms paying the entrance fee because of it. They are also intrigued with the authentic “discover old Florida” ambiance and culture of the park and enjoy being immersed in a different culture and learning about the culture and the animals.