Florida used to be all about the gators. Feeding them, gawking at them, even wrestling them. Gatorland land has lots of alligators (over 3,000), but also crocodiles, for anyone like me who wants to see the difference. Birders will love how the gator lakes are favored habitat for a huge range of air-borne species.
“Family travel” is a term conjuring images of theme parks, lake houses, and ice cream parlors. As a helicopter parent, I’m all for that safe, reliable model. So I’m still trying to figure out what came over me last summer, when I brought my two kids into a pen containing a ten-foot white alligator.
We were at Gatorland in Orlando, which I highly recommend to get off the beaten track. Our guide Tim, the “Dean of Gator Wrestling,” escorted us in to meet Trezo Je, an extremely rare Leucistic alligator.
We were only there for a few memorable minutes, frozen in fear. Memorable because we got to meet a gator. And because it was the first time I considerably loosened my death grip on the apron strings.
The rest of the story can be found on our family travel blog, “Go BIG or Go Home.”