One of the first questions many visitors ask once they get down here is, “Where can I see an alligator?”
The answer, of course, is, “Just wait for a bit.”
Gators have a tendency to pop up, sometimes at inopportune moments, so chances are you’ll stumble onto a gator at some point if you just keep your eyes peeled. This is also where our local gator trappers come into play. We profiled a few in our April issue. (Moral of the story: Call the gator hotline if you see a threatening gator—(866) FWC-GATOR.)
But there are plenty of places where you can go check out a gator in captivity or in their natural habitat without worrying whether you can outrun it.
– The Everglades Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs has its roots as a classic Florida-style tourist trap, but it has evolved to an attraction with rescued wildlife and a lush botanical garden, complete with plenty of gators. Also, you can check out the gators and other wildlife at the similarly old-school Shell Factory & Nature Park.
– The Naples Zoo also has a gator bay where you can watch the inhabitants get fed. Also, you can check out baby gators—Snap, Crackle and Pop—at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida
– If you’re a bit more adventurous, many wildlife preserves, such as Big Cypress and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, offer swamp walks where you might just see a few gators. And, if you really want to get up close and personal, Wooten’s has a live alligator show.
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