Alligators and Florida are a natural pair! Learning about these creatures while in Florida is a must for everyone during a family vacation, and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park aims to educate. Year-round events teach the whole family about this part of the Southern swamp, while helping with Florida’s conservation efforts.
This farm is over 100 years old, which began with a small collection of reptiles, and has now grown into its current state as one of the top things to do in St. Augustine. Shows and exhibits help visitors understand reptiles and how they contribute to the overall ecosystem, while attractions and activities keep visitors coming back for more.
The attractions of this zoo include thrilling activities, shows, and exhibits. This zoo includes every species of crocodilian, and it is the only zoo allowed to make this claim. This is in addition to birds, fossils, and reptiles. Exhibits, such as the Wading Bird Rookery, host Florida’s wild birds, while the Albino Alligator exhibit holds and protects this rare type of alligator, who is said to bring good luck.
Be sure to see the park’s very own “Maximo,” a 15’3”, 1,250-pound alligator which is also the largest animal at the Alligator Farm. This saltwater crocodile hatched from an egg collected along the Australian river and grew to his adult size at the Cairn’s Crocodile Farm. He is now on display with an underwater viewing window so that all guests can see him up close.
Crossing a Crocodile
Have you ever wanted to zip over a crocodile’s head? You’re in luck with Crocodile Crossing! You’ll be able to zip along this zip line attraction, where you’ll face aerial obstacles among the treetops. Face one of two courses where live crocodiles and alligators rest just beneath your feet. Tropical birds flutter around you, and red-ruffed lemurs appear to the lucky adventurer.
You’ll face 50 different obstacles as you move above and through this zoo. Opt for the shorter Sepik River Course, or the thrilling Nile River Course. The choice is yours, and the adventure is up to you.
Competitions and Year-Round Activities
In the spirit of continuing community outreach, the zoo offers contests and participation opportunities year-round. For example, a student could enter a contest to win a reptile for the classroom, or a family could experience a sampling of our animals in the community.
It’s worth the effort to check with the zoo’s website to discover different activities to get everyone participating in reptile awareness. The zoo aims to keep the community educated on these magnificent beasts, because education is the key to safety for both humans and animals alike.
As is the goal of most zoos, this zoo contributes to research and conservation of these amazing animals. Working with other worldwide organizations, the Alligator Farm aims to help preserve a number of different species. Protection from depleted resources is important, and interested visitors can read the Species Survival Plan, which highlights the zoo’s conservation efforts.
Visitors to the zoo are often interested to know that all animals are color coded, with each color representing a different level of endangerment. For example, a light green “CD” code means that the animal is conservation dependent, and less likely to be found in the wild.
The History of the St Augustine Alligator Farm
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in St Augustine first opened way back in 1893, making it one of Florida’s oldest continuously running attractions. Showcasing 23 different species of crocodiles, as well as a whole host of other types of birds, mammals, and reptiles, guests to the park can expect all kinds of educational demonstrations, performances, and amazing exhibits.
When the park first opened well over a century ago, it was a minor attraction that began with only a few alligators present. As the park grew in popularity, it moved to its current location in the 1920s. Since 2012, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is the only place where guests can see every species of crocodile, alligator, caiman, and gharial. As the zoo has grown, birds, other reptiles, and exotic monkeys have been added to the mix as well.
Of course, safety is essential in all programs. Staff undergo background checks, and student to teacher ratios adhere to Florida state regulations. They care as much about the children as they do their reptiles, and they aim to make sure every guest has an educational, enjoyable stay. Stop by this top-rated thing to do in St. Augustine during your next family vacation and learn more about the local species in St. Augustine!