Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Gatorland in Orlando

Northern Florida from the Atlantic to the Panhandle is subject to severe thunderstorms during the warmer months. As these occur most frequently in the afternoons and evenings, air traffic in and out of Orlando Airport is scheduled accordingly.

When Steve and Rani took us to the Kennedy Space Center we drove through constant thunder and lightning on our way back to Cocoa Beach and this continued all through dinner.

Air Canada had only one flight a day from Toronto and back - at least during the summer months - and this was in the morning. By the time that our shuttle from Cocoa Beach to Orlando got us to the latter my flight to Toronto had already departed. Ric was able to fly west on his way to California while Eric was planning to spend a few days in that city (he had rented a car and planned to visit the Kennedy Space Center before returning to Washington State).

Eric and I booked into the same hotel in Orlando so we grabbed some brochures from the rack in the lobby  and pored over them. Disney World did have some appeal but it was one of the more expensive attractions and would be full of families with younger kids. We settled upon Gatorland instead.

It was interesting and colorful once we got past the hokum found at those 'attractions'. We arrived just before the public feeding of the captive alligators so we watched. A couple of employees stood on a balcony like affair and dangled carcasses of slaughtered chickens towards the hungry mouths which were agape down below them. 

Alligators most certainly are NOT polite diners - each was determined to get the dangled piece of chicken before one of its mates got it.

I was bemused by an egret who was hanging around on the fringe. It wanted a piece of that chicken too - but had to be careful or it, - also - would become lunch!

               Watching for a piece of chicken while watching where the 'gators were located!

                            An alligator lazily swimming around - but ever on the alert for food. 

I would guess that patrons do toss tidbits into the water as that 'gator was watching us very expectantly.

                                                       It is/was a pretty place

After watching the alligators being fed we wandered around what, - to all intents and purposes - is a zoo. Towards the rear of the property was an enclosure for the 'grandaddy' of the 'gators.

It seems that everywhere we went we encountered that always hopeful egret.

                                                        "Hey - Please feed a hungry bird!"

There were a number of other exhibits - almost entirely birds. These are fledgling egrets.

                                                                      Two parrots

                                Two more parrots - more colorful than the former shown

                                                   I am not sure what this bird is - a stork?

A while after this trip I was chatting with somebody who had been to Orlando more recently than I had and he told me that this attraction (Gatorland) had been destroyed in a fire.

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