Gatorland’s Oldest & Largest Gator Turns 50

Filed under: Orlando Theme Parks,Orlando Vacation Tips |

 Gatorland Orlando

The historic gator mouth entrance designed and built by Frank Godwin in 1962, celebrates its 50th Birthday today, December 20th at the theme park known internationally as the “Alligator Capital of the World.” In December 1962, the gator’s mouth welcomed its first guests into Gatorland.  At that time, donations were collected for visiting the theme park that was built next door to the living quarters of Owen and Pearl, who founded the theme park in 1949.  “The entrance was just a plain door when we first opened Gatorland,” states Frank.  “I wanted to build something that would make people stop as they were traveling past.” 

Gatorland Orlando Entrance

“The giant gator jaws have stood in Orlando longer than most of the other attractions in the area have even been in business,” states Mark McHugh, President & CEO of Gatorland (pictured below). “The entrance is a great symbol for the kind of special memories we create for our guests every day.  We hope to continue providing these incredible experiences for at least another fifty years!”

Mark McHugh - Gatorland

The strength and ingenuity of Frank’s masterpiece was put to the extreme test on November 6, 2006, when a massive fire destroyed the main building attached to the mouth.  When the smoke cleared, only the giant gator mouth was left standing. “It was the most incredible sight,” states McHugh.  “At one point fire was blasting out of the gator’s mouth and we thought for sure it was gone.  Yet it suffered no structural damage and remains one of Florida’s most nostalgic theme park icons.”

 Gatorland OrlandoWhite Gator at Gatorland Orlando

Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining “Old Florida” charm with exciting new exhibits and entertainment.  The park opened as a roadside attraction in 1949.  Today, it provides affordable-priced family fun with thousands of alligators, crocodiles, an aviary, breeding marsh with observation tower, petting zoo, nature walk, educational wildlife programs, Gatorland award-winning gift shop, Florida’s best train-ride, restaurant, Gator Gully Splash Park and one-of-a-kind reptilian shows including the Gator Wrestlin’ Show, Gator Jumparoo and the Up-close Encounters Show.  And, don’t miss the world’s largest collection of giant white alligators in the new White Gator Swamp and the all new Screamin’ Gator Zip Line featuring over 1,200 feet of high flying thrills, five intense zip lines and a massive 150 ft. suspension bridge.

Gatorland FloridaGatorland Florida

Gatorland is very reasonably priced and makes for a great half day out that breaks the pace of visiting the major theme parks. It’s very easy to enjoy a half day at Gatorland and then return to your Florida Leisure Vacation Home to relax poolside and simply chill out in the sun.

The nice thing about Gatorland is that it’s possible to enjoy the natural side of Florida as well as stepping it up a little by enjoying the amazing high flying, heart pounding zip lines. The Gatorland shows are also great for young ones as not only do they keep you interested but they add a valuable educational element as well. The shows last approximately 15 minutes and if you time it right, you’ll be able to catch all three of them before you leave.

Gator Zip Line at Gatorland

Gator Jumparoo Show

This is the show that made Gatorland famous. It’s hear that the visitor gets to cheer on their favorite alligator competing with dozens of other lightning fast gators for lunch! What’s on the menu? Store bought chicken that is hung high above the water…it’s quite a sight if you’ve lucky enough to see a gator leaping from the water for their snack!

Up Close Encounters

The show where you’re trained to expect the unexpected. Seriously, don’t open the box! Snakes, insects and other exotic birds and animals from all over the world are incorporated into this comical, interactive experience.

Gatorland Wresting Show

Gator Wrestlin’ Show

Watch as one of the bravest daredevils at Gatorland grabs a 6 to 8 foot alligator by the tail for an “Old Florida” match of man versus beast.

Gatorland also has some special behind the scenes tours that cost a little extra as well as several photo opportunities to be pictured with a gator or a snake.

Make sure you visit on your next visit to Orlando!

More photos at and here’s some video:

[trafficplayer_skin padding: 3px 0 0 3px; margin: 0 auto; width: 543px; height: 388px; background: url( no-repeat top left; text-align: left;][trafficplayer_youtube_video width=”540″ height=”385″ src=”″ ][/trafficplayer_youtube_video][/trafficplayer_skin]


vodafone tl yükleme kontör yükleme hamile giyim turkcell fatura alanya escort işbankası kredi kartı borç sorgulama elektrik faturası ödeme turkcell tl yükleme tl yükleme hgs yükleme pvp serverler site ekle r57 shell indir antalya escort yapı kredi borç sorgulama finansbank borç sorgulama akbank borç sorgulama ogs yükleme enerjisa fatura ödeme clk akdeniz fatura ödeme