This weekend, bigger brother was at a scout event, so I did a search within an acceptable radius to see what animal-related attraction we’d not yet seen.
Once we got to the area, billboards for this started popping up. So, okay, it’s only a few more miles down the road. We’ll go.
And then, well, we’re only a few miles from the beach, and what a shame to waste the opportunity.
And it worked, even though those of you who live near beach communities know that driving in on Saturday afternoon is as insane as driving out is on Saturday morning – Saturday being the usual changeover day for rentals.
But we made it.
(And I had thrown swimsuits and towels in the car)
Reviews: Alligator Alley was fun and worth it. I suppose there are other similar attractions in other swampy areas of the country – the big one in St. Augustine, for example, that we’ve never been to – and I don’t know how it would compare to those, but we enjoyed this one.
There are about 200 gators on the property. They got there because many years ago a man who farmed the land was having a problem with beavers. He brought in five alligators to take care of it, and they stayed. And now larger gators roam the swampy areas, and younger animals are kept in enclosures. You can purchase feed – it’s large pellets, made by Purina, the fellow told me. Purina Gator Chow, I guess.
During the summer, they also run a very small reptile petting area, and my son was very comfortable with the boa he got to handle.
(When we were at the Memphis Zoo, a docent came running after us after she’d done a little talk on a snake, and M had answered a bunch of questions she’d thrown out. She wondered how old he was and if he would like to volunteer.)
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is clearly designed for bored tourists who have tired of, not only the beach, but go-karts, mini-golf and ziplines. It’s small and oriented towards “experiences” – for which you pay extra. Of course. It being the end of summer with the
opening of the penitentiary beginning of school fast approaching, I was in a generous mood, so in addition to the not-super cheap admission, I sprang for both kangaroo and sloth encounters. The rest of the zoo was not really worth it if you’ve ever been to a zoo before in your life – although the opportunity to feed someone’s favorite animal – a capybara – was appreciated.
I had thought about spending the night, but was not sure what time the other son would be getting home on Sunday morning and what would happen with Mass – and it’s good because he got back at 10 and we were able to get to 11am Mass – which would have been difficult to dash back for if we’d stayed down on the Gulf last night.
Remember – if you want to follow these jaunts, check me out on Instagram and Snapchat (amywelborn2)