The St Augustine Alligator Farm: it’s no croc

Beyond pirates and forts, we were excited to experience alligators in Florida.  One reason we knew we’d #LoveFL is because gators are our favorite animal…next to sharks.  When we found out about the St Augustine Alligator Farm we just had to go.  Without researching it at all we added it to our itinerary (thinking maybe it was a food farm).  Needless to say, we weren’t disappointed and were genuinely surprised at its awesomeness…and that it was a really well put together zoo!  Of all of the zoos and aquariums we’ve experienced, this one provided the seemingly-best habitats for the animals with the most specific zoo keepers and scientists on property (stark contrast to the Georgia Aquarium).  Here’s why our whole family, not just the kids, loved the St Augustine Alligator Farm (the best is last below!):

 

Baby Gators at St Augustine Alligator FarmGators – you literally see gators from the moment you walk through the doors.  Baby gators greeted us.  Tiny little gators.  So cute.  So cuddly…well, not cuddly.  And then there was a fake gator to sit on and get a picture right away.  And then there was an albino gator…  and then….  Really, no time was wasted in being sure to show us all of the different types of crocodilians.

Tip:  the Alligator Farm is larger than you think and if you want to score a picture of a happy kiddo sitting on a gator, do it at the start of your visit.LittleMan on Alligator at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1

 


White Cockatoo at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1Birds
– Hornbills, parrots, cockatoos, cranes, storks…VULTURES.  Seriously, we weren’t anything but alligators, so seeing some of our favorite birds was great.  The hornbill is my favorite (hi, I’m Rob) and they had several varieties.  The vultures were amazing too, as they weren’t just turkey vultures like you see on the side of the highway, but actual real, big, creepy, beautiful Cape Griffin vultures.  Seriously, they’re such stunning birds and you can observe them close enough to really see their talons and crazy sharp beaks.

Playground at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1Tip:  there is an actual playground at the south end of the Alligator Farm where you can sit and watch the storks and vultures while the kids are climbing and sliding and such.  Relax and enjoy them!  Oh, and there’s another great photo-op with a cut-out face wall where the kids (or adults) can be vultures or storks.Cape Griffin Vultures at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1

 


Crocodiles in Lagoon at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1Crocs
– the variety of crocs and gators was really impressive.  We knew that there was the Nile crocodile and the Florida gator, but we didn’t know the variety was so vast:  crocs from 5 continents, gators from 2, caimans, GHARIALS!  They’re all separated by species and then regionally within each.  Just walking through and seeing the many types side by side, you’ll learn a lot about each.

 


Note: 
Maximo the Crocodile was very impressive to see, but for an animal so large, his exhibit was very small and confining.  Granted, our knowledge of Maximo Crocodile at St Augustine Alligator Farmreptiles and their environmental needs/range isn’t deep, so his exhibit may have been more than sufficient, but the impression for such an enormous creature was that he probably needed A LOT MORE room.

Tip:  each exhibit has very well put together information placards.  There’s a lot of facts and stats that help you understand the different species as well as habitats.  They’re written well enough that investing 20 seconds at each spot is well worth the time to read and learn.LittleMan and Maximo Crocodile at St Augustine Alligator Farm

 

Komodo Dragon close up tongue at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1The Komodos – with a rather large exhibit of varying landscapes and coverage, the komodo dragons are a sight to see.  We’ve gotten to experience them in several zoos and by far this exhibit was the best we’ve seen.  And it helped that the dragons were in the mood to pose in the sunlight for us.

Tip:  kids can be quite literal.  Explain that komodos aren’t fire breathing type dragons.  Just a thought.Chris Taylor and Dudes with Komodo Dragon at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1

 

Gallapagos Tortoise at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1And More – in addition to all of the creatures mentioned above, the St Augustine Alligator Farm also has lemurs, tamarins, Galapagos Tortoises, and some very interesting displays and exhibits about the different parts of the world featured animals are from.  Next time we’re at the Alligator Farm, we’ll be doing the zip line obstacle course that covers most of the park.  We can’t wait!

Tip:  if you want to do the zip line, be sure you arrive wearing shoes, not flip flops.  Open toes = you no go.Zip Line Course at St Augustine Alligator Farm

 

Chris Taylor and TinyMan in Swamp at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1The Swamp – by far, this was the highlight of our visit.  This is what we expected all of Florida to be like.  Well, not really, but we were hoping.  The boardwalk runs the length of a football field and really is genuinely creepy.  Even though you’re totally safe, if you get scared easily or don’t like reptiles, you may have a small panic attack.  Below you are more alligators than you can imagine.  We don’t even know how many we saw as they were impossible to count.  On the banks of the swamp they were all lounging all over each other just like on a National Geographic special.  In the water, they were swimming across each Many Alligators in Swamp at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1other, chillin’ in the sun… and catching birds that flew too close.  We witnessed real carnage which was… um… it really brought us into the moment of where we were:  on top of hundreds of gators.

Tip:  kids in strollers for this section is a gooooood idea.  We’ve got flailers who can fling themselves out of your arms without notice.  You don’t want that to happen here.Many Gators in Swamp at St Augustine Alligator Farm 2 header

 

Trainer with Python and Rob Taylor at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1The St Augustine Alligator Farm really is such a cool place for a family trip.  It is almost completely wheelchair or stroller accessible.  There is food available in the park at the ToucanTina, where they actually serve beer as well (and for better than a bar prices).  There are a few spots to sit in the sun or the shade, but then also there are some select air conditioned areas if the humid heat is just too much.  The staff we talked with were all very friendly and knowledgeable.  It was great and we were thankful they hosted us.

Tip:  find out when they’re feeding the gators if you’re in the mood for some thrashing tails and growling.  Also, see when they’re doing animal demonstrations.  We got to meet the nicest macaw and even snuggle a python.Thrashing Gators in Swamp at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1

 

Chris Taylor and TinyMan at St Augustine Alligator Farm 1If you’re in St Augustine, it’s worth about two hours to gingerly explore the St Augustine Alligator Farm.  It’s a very unusual zoo and was great for seeing something new and getting an experience with gators.  Once you’re done here, you can easily jet over to the lighthouse that’s very close by or head down to Fort Matanzas, about 20 minutes south.  Each of these activities is another way to make you to truly #LoveFL.

 

Alligator Farm pin

 

Want to Pin it?  Go for it!!

11 Comments

  • Small Town Washington

    St. Augustine is my favorite small town in Florida. The gater farm looks like it was a lot of fun. I’d love to see a Komodo dragon!!!

    December 9, 2015 at 8:00 pm
  • Tryphena Wade

    How cool is this?! I’ve been on excursions through the everglades but I’d love to see this many gators up close. And how cute is your son sitting on the gators back?! It looks like such a fun outing for the family.

    December 11, 2015 at 10:16 am
  • Carmen | Carmen's Luxury Travel

    I haven’t been to St. Augustine in years and never knew they had an alligator farm. Living in Fort Lauderdale we go to the everglades every so often when family comes to town, and show them the alligators. I’ll definitely have to go check out this farm next time we are in the area.

    December 11, 2015 at 11:55 am
    • 2TD-Rob
      Rob Taylor

      If you’re up in the St Augustine area it’s totally worth the visit. I was genuinely surprised by the farm/zoo as a whole.

      December 11, 2015 at 12:34 pm
  • Joe Bartell

    Thanks for the tour, my kids would love this park. I think we will go there. Joe

    December 11, 2015 at 1:57 pm
  • Klipdrifters

    St Augustie Alligator farm looks like a fantastic experience for the whole family. We have been to several Croc farms around South Africa but cant say that we have ever seen a Komodo dragon, they quite interesting looking dudes. We love visiting these kind of places, makes a fun morning out. Thank you for the post.

    December 11, 2015 at 11:45 pm
  • Natalie

    Any kind of zoo or animal park is always a hit with my toddler! 🙂 We took her to the Serpentarium in Edisto, SC, last summer, and she was both in awe and terrified of the gators (as she should be, since we live in coastal SC and come across these babies in the wild pretty regularly). Still, it’s a safe learning experience and she loves seeing all the animals! I’ll have to put this on the itinerary the next time we’re down in St. Augustine!

    December 12, 2015 at 6:09 am
  • NutiMed

    Thanks for sharing

    December 15, 2015 at 5:19 am
  • Corinne

    I love a zoo/rehabilitation center for animals. I think they are great for educating kids! Great article.

    March 8, 2016 at 11:55 pm
  • Jessica

    It really is a nice facility, we’ve been once or twice. Growing up in the swamps of South Georgia, alligators are no big thang to us. Lol. Our high school mascot is the Gators.

    March 9, 2016 at 12:20 am
  • Ami

    I am not too fond of these creepies and reptiles but I can see it is an amazing place for the kids. I am sure they learnt a lot here. 😀

    August 30, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Leave a Reply