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Where To See Alligators in Orlando (or nearby)

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Asking if you can see alligators in Florida is like asking if the sky is blue. Alligator sightings are frequent, however, you still need to know where to look because these creatures can be illusive.

Contrary to popular belief, they are quite timid and rather like just lazing in the sun. Alligators usually hunt at night, so getting to see them during the day is quite a treat. 

Where to see Alligators in Orlando (or nearby)

With all that being said, there are some popular locations in Orlando and the surrounding areas where you can not only see alligators, but feed them.

Most places are protected areas with an entrance fee, but on the rare occasion that you come across an alligator outside of these attractions, don’t get too close and certainly don’t try to feed it. 

Best places to see alligators in Orlando

Miniature Golf (or Putt Putt)

The funniest place (in my family’s opinion) to see alligators is at any one of the myriad local miniature golf courses. In my neighborhood alone near Universal Studios and Disney World, we have no less than a half a dozen choices of putt putt, each with opportunities to not only see the alligators in their free range secure area, but then to also buy some of the speciality gator food to toss into the arena.

Gator Golf Adventure Park on International Drive is one of our favorites. There’s the gator lagoon which follows along the first few holes. They have over 200 alligators in their lagoon and they like to spread out.

For under $10 you can grab a bag of gator food so as you wait for your turn to putt on the first few holes, you can toss the large pellets (which look like balls of coal) in for the gators to enjoy.

Among the other locations, Lost Cavern Adventure Golf as well as Congo River Golf are our two favorites in the area. 

Congo River Live Gator playing golf, Orlando, Florida
Congo River Mini Golf, Orlando, Florida
Boggy Creek Alligator

AirBoat Tours

One of the safest ways to get to see alligators up close is on an airboat tour. Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures is one of the best in the area. It’s about 40 minutes south east of Orlando. Most of the trek to get there is on back roads.

Along the way you’ll pass a small local farm featuring a petting zoo with some rabbits, horses, and cats. Feel free to stop and say hi (they love visitors!).  

Upon arrival, visitors are welcomed into an old mining town. There are a few different areas where you can pan for precious metals, learn about the Seminole Indians (the indigenous tribe to Central Florida), as well as take a break with a nice cool drink and alligator shaped chocolates (among other delicious treats). 

Boggy Creek airboat baby alligators, Orlando, Florida
Boggy Creek airboat baby alligators

Stop to see the baby alligators and feed them if you wish…

From there, you board the airboat at your specified time for the 30 minute or 1 hour tour. The airboats hold about 25 people plus the driver. It moves on as little as 3 inches of water which allows for safe passage from the dock around the perimeter of the lake.

Each passenger is given a sturdy pair of noise blocking earphones as the fan that powers the boat is very loud and each person is also given a life vest, just in case. We’ve taken the tour a few different times throughout the year and every time we see some of the most incredible sights.

The first few minutes are all about training your eye to look in the right area of the horizon. Eagles can be seen high up in the trees, small birds of all different species can be seen fishing and bathing in the water, and turtles can usually be seen sunbathing on small rocks.

The driver will point out everything they see, their eyes are used to picking out the little details, and they will even slow the boat down when the animals are a little harder to spot. Finally, you’ll, of course, see a plethora of alligators.

Most are no bigger than 3-4 feet, which we learned means they are about 3-4 years old. As the boats get close, the alligators tend to slip into the water and swim away, but some like to just stare at you as you the boat passes by. 

Wild Florida

Wild Florida Everglades Airboat & Wildlife Park is another great place to see alligators on an airboat tour but they also feature a walk through gator park as well as a drive through the safari. Located at the head of the Everglades, their website says, “they have been providing unforgettable experiences since 2010”.

This park is located off of Cypress Lake which is the next lake south of where the Boggy Creek Tours are located. Wild Florida not only features their alligators, but they have up close encounters with a sloth, a porcupine, a lemur, and a capybara.

Guests can pay extra to be able to feed not only these docile animals but the gators as well. However, if you want a little bit more space between you and the animals, their drive through safari is the perfect encounter.

Guests stay in their own car while driving through the 170 acres of land which is home to over 150 animals ranging from giraffes to bison. There is plenty to see and do here for a full day’s experience for everyone in the family.

Map of Where To See Alligators in Orlando (or nearby)
Click here to view the live map & use the icons to get more information – Map data 2024 Inst. Geogr Nacional

Where To See Captive Alligators in Orlando

Gatorland

Gatorland is one of the most popular parks in Orlando for getting the whole alligator experience. This amusement park was founded in 1949 by a man named Owen Godwin.

Originally it served as a roadside attraction off of Orange Blossom Trail. The park is still privately owned by his family and they strive to preserve the natural habitat of alligators and crocodiles while including exciting experiences for people of all ages.

Gatorland has many types of animals including wild cats, capybaras, birds, snakes, and turtles. And of course, they have alligators and crocodiles; over 2000 of them to be exact.

The park is over 110 acres in which guests can see shows featuring animal training and feeding time with the alligators, zip line over alligator enclosures, as well as being able to jump on board a 12 foot high custom made safari vehicle for an outrageous 15 minute trek through their swamp. 

Father and child sitting on a large model alligator at Gatorland Orlando
Gatorland

Fun Spot America

You can also see gators at FunSpot. The gator spot area is included in your ticket price or can be bought separately for $6.

Old Town Fun Spot, Kissimmee, Florida

Gaylord Palms Resort

Alligators at a hotel resort? Yes, at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. The resort is home to a vast 4.5 acre glass-enclosed Atrium that recreates three distinct Florida environments: the Everglades, Key West, and St. Augustine.

In the Everglades area, you can get up close and personal with non-venomous snakes, baby alligators, and other native wildlife. You can also learn about the Everglades ecosystem from the resort’s knowledgeable staff. Visit on Tuesdays and Saturdays around 6:30 p.m. for feeding time by the staff at Gatorland.

In the Key West area, you can relax on the beach, go fishing, or take a boat tour. You can also see tropical fish and other marine life in the lagoon.

In the St. Augustine area, you can explore a replica of the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century Spanish fort. You can also see turtles, alligators, and other animals in the Gator Springs habitat.

Alligators in the Wild

With all that said, keep in mind that Florida is mostly swamplands. Even the built up and populated areas are considered swamplands so the chances of seeing an alligator in the wild is fairly high, especially if you know where to look.

Lake Monroe and Lake Kissimmee are two of the top places where people have reported alligator sightings. Lake Monroe is part of the St. John’s River system and is located north of Orlando in Sanford (about 45 minutes north). Lake Kissimmee is about an hour and 20 minutes south of Lake Monroe. 

Winter is the best season for alligator watching as they enjoy warming themselves in the sun.

Alligator sightings are best in the morning when it is still cool enough for them to be out. Along the shores of the lake is where they like to keep watch and as the day warms up they slide into the water to keep cool. Hear some growling sounds – that will be the males trying to attract a mate and is common during Spring?

Alligators do like to keep to themselves, however, there are some key things to remember if and when you do see alligators in the wild.

Things To Remember When You See Wild Alligators In Orlando

1. Do not feed alligators (or any other wild animals).

2. Listen for hissing noises. Alligators have a very distinct hiss they make when they feel threatened and this is your warning that they see you and do not want you there.

3. Heed the warning signs posted. There are usually barriers to keep not only you but the animals safe, so follow the rules.

4. If you do come across an alligator, let it pass.

The best advice given (according to Real Florida Fun) is to keep still and allow the alligator to cross where they would like to go.

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