Special feature today as mom is away on a girls' weekend. H is in New York City (makes me think of that salsa commercial: "New York City!?") with a bunch of her girlfriends so B and I are on our own for the weekend. I think it is important for parents to have some time to do adult things that don't involve sippy cups or diaper changes once in a while. It has a been a fun and challenging weekend so far, I'm not sure how single parents retain their sanity. It is great to get to spend time with B he is a great kid and it also helps me appreciate what my wife deals with on a daily basis. I had B all day today which was extra tough because he did not feel like sleeping last night (I think he's getting some teeth) and we were watching Sesame Street at 1 am last night.
This morning we got up and went to Gatorland in south Orlando. Gatorland is Orlando's oldest attraction. It opened in its current location in 1949, after its founder Owen Goldwin Sr. purchased the original 16 acres for $300 from the city. The park advertises itself as Orlando's most laid back attraction and I agree. We pulled in and parked 20 feet from the entrance and paid $9 for admission (B was free) and we were off. You enter the park and walk across a boardwalk over water that contains some huge alligators. I was a little apprehensive on the way that B would somehow run off and fall in and get eaten, but it is really well fenced off so little ones are okay running pretty free. We saw the Gator Jumparoo show where the alligators jump out of the water to eat whole chickens out of a gentleman who was wearing overalls' hand, which B had little interest in and fed some goats at the petting zoo, which B freaking loved. They had sinks, soap and hand sanitizer at the exits of the petting zoo, which was reassuring for any germophobes out there.
We saw the special exhibit, the white alligators, which I though was cool, but I don't know that B realized that they aren't usually white.
The train ride is the best bargain there, $2 per person (B was free) and you got a little history lesson on the park on the way (and we even got a little "choo choo" out of B). There are a couple of shows--gator wrestling and snake stuff--but B is to little to sit still for those so we skipped them. Note: there is a splash park that looks really cool so be prepared with a towel and swimsuit or be prepared for tears. I saw a kid crying on a bench because his parents wouldn't let him get soaking wet at 10:30 am.
To sum it up, its a great deal, 1/10 of the price of the other theme parks so you don't feel guilty about going for 3 hours, great gift shop, and some kitschy Florida fun.