Monday, July 8, 2019

Git Yourself to Gator Country!

For our twelfth anniversary Benjamin and I loaded up the boys and headed down I-10 for a morning filled with all things gators!
If you have ever driven on I-10 towards Beaumont you've seen it.  The big gator building on the left side of the road beaconing you to stop and see their gators.  Benjamin and I have driven by it plenty of times stating that it would be a fun adventure for our family to do some day.

Well, this past weekend someday arrived!  It was Saturday and it was our anniversary and we couldn't think of anything better than to drive down to swim with the alligators!  The buddies were super pumped!

We had looked at pricing online and had already decided on purchasing the Adventure Package for our family.  After receiving our bags of feed and wrist bands we headed towards the gator ponds.
 Gator Country is the only sanctuary for alligators in Texas.  They work with local authorities housing and caring for alligators that are abandoned, donated, or have been nuisances to the public.  They also work with schools and general public to provide education about the crocodilian species.
 With over 450 alligators on the property, there were plenty to feed!
The Main House contains a huge variety of snakes and other scaled creatures.  At almost the entire time we were there a staff member would have lines around them to hold all kinds of creatures!  Our boys loved being able to hold the snakes!  {No, you cannot have one for Christmas. πŸ˜‚}
The highlight of the day, and the main motivator for us visiting Gator Country, was swimming with the alligators! 

I dressed the buddies in their swim trunks as I wasn't sure how deep the water would be.  And I sure am thankful I did!
 Now, I had told the buddies that we were going to go swimming with the gators.  And they really took that to heart!  They were both soaking wet and doggie paddling around beside the alligators!  They were in heaven!  I maybe should have told them we were going wading with the gators, but honestly the fact that they had such a fun time made the trip there worth it!  The only thing left dry on Truman was a tiny circle on the top of his hat! πŸ˜‚#nextsteveirwin
The intern overseeing the gator pool taught us the proper way to pick up a gator: 
Gently grab their tail and pull the gator toward you.  
Place your open hand under the gator's head and lift!
Winston was in his own little world petting the gators, picking them up and talking to them, setting them free and cheering them on as they glided away.
It was really cool being able to hold the gator.  The ones we were swimming with were between 3 and 4 years old.  I was quite surprised at how soft they were!
 After our swim was over we headed to the tortoise area and fed them some fresh lettuce. 
 Benjamin wants one of these as a pet.  I told him he can visit them at Gator Country any time he likes! #nothankyou  #theyhavehugepoos πŸ˜‚
 We grabbed a few sno-cones and then headed to the porch of the Main House to learn more about alligators.  We learned that after an alligator gets so big they have no natural predators outside of other alligators!  
 Then we headed to Big Al's pond!  He is 87 years old, 13 feet and 4 inches weighing over 1,000 pounds!  The interns took our phones and snapped a few photos of his impressive jaws! 

 After the show, the heat was out in full force and we were getting pretty hungry so we said our good-byes to Gator Country and headed out.  All in all we were there 2.5 hours.

Here's a few things to know if you head out to Gator Country:
🐊 The pathways are dirt and were a little muddy in some spots so wear appropriate foot wear, especially if recently rained.
🐊 You can take in your own food and drink.  There is a pavilion area that has lots of picnic tables.
🐊 Gator Country has ice cream, sno-cones and a few snack items available for purchase.
🐊Credit cards are accepted.  
🐊 Cash tips are encouraged for the interns.
🐊 You need to purchase lettuce for the turtles in the same building you pay your entry fee in.
🐊 If you choose to swim wade with the gators πŸ˜‰wear dry fit clothing or swim trunks.  Bring a towel.
🐊 Pack your camera!
🐊 Lather up with sunscreen and bug spray before you go in.
🐊There is hand sanitizer located all around the Main House and in the gift shop as you leave.
I highly recommend a trip to Gator Country especially to swim with the gators!  If you aren't going to swim with the gators and weren't passing by it anyway, I don't think I'd make the trip down there.  The best part by far was interacting with gators!

**Please note that we have talked with our boys about what to do if they see an alligator in the wild.  They know that this experience was something done in a regulated, safe space for both them and the gators.**

To Benjamin: Thanks for celebrating 12 years of marriage by agreeing to my wild-haired adventure for the day!  It truly was the most rednecked thing we've ever done and I'm so glad we did! πŸ˜‚ The memories of this day are precious!

2 comments :

  1. Happy Anniversary! What a fun adventure!! You guys are great. I bet the buddies had a blast. My kids would have enjoyed this little road trip :)

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