Florida’s Wild Kingdom

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AlligatorFarm_010615DSt. Augustine Alligator Farm is the zoo for you

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Getting a head-on view of a rare albino alligator. (Photos by Dave Gil de Rubio)

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park was founded in 1893 and more than a century later, there’s plenty to soak up for both the casual and devoted wildlife fan. Not only is it the only place in North America to feature 24 species of crocodilian, but there are other feathered and furry creatures to take in as you stroll throughout the center’s seven acres. And if you’re inclined, you can even climb, clip and hop on a zip line over the premises. The following are some of what you can experience during your trip here:

Land of Crocodiles
As you stroll though here, you’ll be able to see every recognized species of crocodilian in the world. Here you’ll see toothy residents from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia ranging from the Nile crocodile to the Indian gharial.

Realm of The Saltie
Alluding to Australia’s ferocious saltwater crocodile, this exhibit features fellow denizens including the Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest living lizard and the southern cassowary, the planet’s most dangerous bird.

A white-crowned hornbill is one of the many aviary species you’ll see here.
A white-crowned hornbill is one of the many aviary species you’ll see here.

Lemurs of Madagascar
Red-ruffed and ring-tailed lemurs straight from the rainforest of Madagascar inhabit this exhibit where you can watch them playing and swinging through branches.

Birds of Africa
Lorded over by gorgeous West African crowned cranes, this layout is also home to some of the Dark Continent’s largest avian scavengers including hooded vultures, Marabou storks and Cape Griffon vultures, which sport an impressive eight-foot wingspan.

Albino Alligators
St. Augustine Alligator Farm is also home to an impressive amount of these rare creatures with separate spaces for babies and more full-grown living specimens. Originating in the bayous of Louisiana, folklore points to them bringing good luck to whoever happens to catch sight of them.

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Maximo

Maximo
The park’s resident big boy, you can either see all 15 feet and 6 inches of Maximo above ground or view him through an underwater viewing window, where his 1,250-pound mass can be seen floating around his much smaller reptilian girlfriend, Sydney.

Gomek Forever
Maximo’s predecessor was nearly 18 feet long and weighed around a ton at the time of his passing. Fear not, as his remains were preserved in a room where he is surrounded by a rare and beautiful collection of hand-carved art from his native Papua New Guinea.

Native Bird Rookery
Located along the Great Florida Bird Trail, this part of the park allows you to walk along wooden walkways that span the Alligator Swamp where visitors can view native herons, egrets, spoonbills, wood storks and Ibis.


See additional photos from the Alligator Farm here.

Learn more about St. Augustine’s 450-year history.

Read about the St. Augustine Distillery.

 

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