10 Ways to Explore Alligator Park in St. Augustine, Florida

| | |

We’re not a huge zoo family, but every guide we read about St Augustine, Florida, as well as a couple of fellow travel writers, all suggested visiting Alligator Farm Zoological Park. So, on our recent visit to St. Augustine, we started one of our mornings at the park and agreed it’s a special place the whole family will enjoy.

Established in 1893, Alligator Farm is one of the oldest zoos in the country. Originally opened as an exhibition space of native Florida reptiles at South Beach on Anastasia Island, Alligator Zoo quickly became a popular spot for tourists. After both a storm and fire destroyed much of the area in 1920, the owners moved the animals to the current, nine acre space. The zoo is home to 24 species of crocodilian, 40 species of birds, dozens of reptiles, and many other animals. The park has shaded paths that weave through the exhibits, with plenty of viewing areas and places to sit and enjoy the beauty of nature. There’s also a zip lining course, daily animal feedings, and various programs and special events that offer plenty of new things to see with each visit.

Travel Tips:

  • The park is open 9am-5pm, with extended hours until 6pm during the summer. More information on admission hours and rates (and promotions and coupons) here.
  • The park is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums reciprocity program, so check to see if membership to your local zoo gets you discounted rates at Alligator Farm.
  • Information on daily shows, featuring alligators and reptiles, and programs, like camps and holiday themed events,  can be found here.
  • The park is handicap and stroller accessible. We’d recommend bringing the stroller for the toddler set. There are tons of spaces with lower glass viewing spaces.
  • Most of the paths are shaded, which is a huge help, but watch out for frequent “droppings” from birds flying above the exhibits.
  • Restrooms are located near the entrance, and all guests must exit through the gift shop.
  • The TouCantina Snack Bar offers snacks, drinks, and Meal Deals for adults and kids and there are plenty of shaded picnic tables and benches throughout the park.
  • Plan on 90-120 minutes to fully explore the entire park and attend a daily show.  See a map of the entire complex here

10 Ways to Explore Alligator Park:

  1. Count all the alligators and crocodiles and learn the difference between the two! The Land of Crocodiles and Oasis on the Nile exhibit offer a wide variety of viewing areas to see dozens of Nile crocodiles, Chinese alligators, and Albino alligators. The Land of Crocodiles is home to all 24 known specie of crocodilian.
  2. Compare the colored feathers of vultures, storks, and cranes in the Birds of Africa exhibit. There are 40 species of birds that are part of the park’s collection. This exhibit is also a great spot to catch the daily feeding demonstration.
  3. Get up close to Maximo, the largest animal on the farm. Maximo is 15 foot long, weighs over 1200 pounds, and can be viewed from an underwater window in his own exhibit space.
  4. Keep your eyes and ears open walking through the two acre Wading Bird Rookery. Visitors should be able to see hundreds of herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills, and storks, all of whom are wild and free to come and go. Nesting season is from March through June, but check here for a monthly schedule. 
  5. Watch the video to learn about pythons, one of the most feared snakes, and see a 21 foot python up close (as close as you cans safely get!) in Python Cave

  1. Learn about Gomek, one of the largest crocodilians at 18 feet and 2,000 pounds! Born in the water of New Guinea, Gomek lived most of his life at Alligator Farm. 
  2. Catch a lemur bathing in the sun (the park is home to 7 lemurs) or a sloth hanging upside down (the park is home to a sloth family with mom, dad, and baby) in Sloth Landing. There are also opportunities to have a “sloth encounter.”
  3. Climb and play in the KidsZone, a playground in the middle of the park for the toddler set. There are climbing structures, slides, and picnic tables. 
  4. Watch a show in the Theater. There are a variety of shows offered each day, including the chance to hold a snake, learn about rainforests, and watch the zookeepers feed the alligators. 
  5. If you’re brave enough, try the Crocodile Crossing zip lining course high above several of the exhibits. The Nile River course includes 17 ziplines, is approximately 35 feet high, and takes about 90 minutes to complete. For a smaller challenge, try the Sepik River Course, which has 9 lines and takes about 45 minutes to complete. More information on both courses here. ** additional fees apply

Looking for other nearby fun in St. Augustine? Check out our posts featuring the Fountain of Youth, Castillo de San Marco National Monument, Lightner Museum, St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, and our full City Guide to St. Augustine. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Disclosure: Our family was given a media pass to explore Alligator Park; all opinions expressed are our own.

Similar Posts

13 Comments

  1. We visited St Augustine many times before finally making it to the alligator experience, because it sounded scary- but it was SO cool and the kids loved it, even our teen girls had a great time! They really do make it a fun experience and you leave with a better appreciation for these ancient creatures. ☺️

  2. I didn’t visit the Alligator Park when we visited St. Augustine, but now I’m sad we didn’t! Such a great attraction for both kids and kids alike!

  3. What a great day to spend with alligators. It looks like a fun experience discovering all those alligators and bird life. I will put it on my list of places to visit when I get to Florida.

  4. I must admit that I might think twice about visiting an alligator park. Although I am sure that getting a view of Maximo would be worth it. But I would be staying far away from the pythons. I am sure our kids would love this and be amused at my reactions.

  5. I’m not a zoo lover, so it was interesting to read about the experience from someone who is the same! It does look like a cool experience, so thank you for putting this together and sharing all these useful tips 😍

  6. Alligator Park sounds like such a cool spot. My husband would especially love to explore – he loves looking for alligators when we’re in the Southeast USA!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.