The Alligator Attraction
12973 Village Blvd, Madeira Beach
I know, I know. Why would anyone kiss a gator? How about just getting to know a little more about these amazing creatures? Let’s start there. The Alligator Attraction is literally across the street from the Belle Vista Hotel.
Gift Shop and Fees
Upon entering the Alligator Attraction, you can peruse the gift shop while waiting to purchase your tickets. There is a nice mix of educational toys, cheap toys, and fancy souvenirs. My son immediately chose a stuffed alligator and told the cashier that he wanted to kiss one. She recommended that we pay to go inside the attraction and visit with all of the animals before we decided if we wanted to kiss one. I was impressed with her foresight – I am sure many guests change their mind.
Hours and Prices are on the website: http://www.thealligatorattraction.com/
Small reptiles and amphibians
Once inside the small attraction, I was excited to see that there were lots of animals to visit. Fish, frogs, chameleons, iguanas, toads, geckos, snakes, aquatic turtles, lizards and my favorite, Randolph, the tortoise.
The staff that handles the small reptiles and amphibians are very knowledgeable and genuinely care about the animals. Each of my three kids picked a small reptile to hold while one of the staff kept a close watch and told them about the animal they chose. For this section of the attraction, there is a small donation box where they suggest $2 per “animal visit.” So, for $2 my little girl held a chameleon named Pascal (of course) and learned all about one of her favorite creatures. I may have spent most of the time snuggling up next to Randolph the tortoise, but he didn’t seem to mind.
After braving it out in the small reptile and amphibians room, we moved on to the alligators. We chatted with the gator handlers for a while and learned that they get the alligators from a farm where they are bred to be killed for their skin. The alligator attraction team save the alligators, by purchasing them from the farm as babies, bring them to the attraction and raise them until they are too big, then they are released to a sanctuary.
Each time a gator receives a kiss, one of their toenails is painted, so the staff knows who has been handled and kissed and who needs a rest.
There are two main activities for us to choose, feeding the alligators and/or kissing/holding the alligators. The feeding involved dipping a rod with a snack into a tank full of baby gators. They were super cute, but for my kids, the interaction wasn’t close enough. They wanted a kiss.
You have the option of choosing how big you want your sweetheart to be before you smooch. My nine year old picked the biggest one available, my seven-year-old, the smallest. I too kissed the little guy. My little girl shook her head and went back to see Pascal. Maybe next year.
A full list of adventures here: http://kissagator.com/adventures/
Learn more about the reptiles and amphibians: https://kissagator.com/resources/
Find out how you can help save the habitats of these awesome creatures: https://kissagator.com/conservation/