‘A truly remarkable alligator’: Gatorland icon Chester dies at 60
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — An alligator that became part of the Gatorland family more than 20 years ago has died, the park recently announced. Chester the alligator died Dec. 7 as a result of an intestinal blockage, Gatorland said. READ: Here are 9 things to do this weekend in Central FloridaThe park estimated he was 60 years old. The massive gator was spared euthanasia when Gatorland rescued him from Tampa in 2002 after he ate a dog. Gatorland recently posted a video as a tribute to Chester.wftv.com
Mermaids return to SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium this month
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — For its third year, SEA LIFE will be hosting mermaid meet-and-greets, dive shows and more until the end of October. Every weekend this month, the mermaids will dive into the ocean habitat alongside sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and fish for underwater displays. Expand Autoplay Image 1 of 5 Sealife Orlando Mermaids SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium (SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium/SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium)Read: Halloween Gators, Goblins and Ghouls: Gatorland reopens after Hurricane IanWith Halloween also approaching, guests can come dressed up as their favorite mermaid for the chance to receive a special mermaid-themed prize. For more information, visit the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium website. Video: Halloween Gators, Goblins, and Ghouls: Gatorland reopens after Hurricane Ian (WFTV)©2022 Cox Media Groupwftv.com
Come Out With Pride festival kicks off in Orlando, First Lady Jill Biden speaks
ORLANDO, Fla. — Thousands of people are attending this year’s “Come Out With Pride” festival in Orlando. First Lady Jill Biden also made an appearance at the event. “You’ve been on the front lines, speaking up, showing up, demanding the dignity and justice that you deserve,” the first lady said. Click the link below to read our guide to the festival. Read: Guide to pride: What to know about Coming Out with Pride Orlando this weekendShare your photos and memories below:For more events in Central Florida, visit our event calendar here.wftv.com
Gatorland opens to the public after Hurricane Ian with Halloween fun
ORLANDO, Fla. — Here in Central Florida hundreds of homes and businesses are still impacted by Hurricane Ian. But after weeks of repairs, the park is back open to the public. The park looks completely different here than two weeks ago as Hurricane Ian flooded this area, with gators floating overtop a small, submerged island. It’s a welcome sight for CEO Mark McHugh, who was forced to shut the park down for 17 days due to Hurricane Ian. I’ve been through a dozen or so hurricanes and we never even got close to flooding in a hurricane.wftv.com
Pride, gators and comedy: 9 things to do this weekend in Central Florida
ORLANDO, Fla. — Fall is in full swing, and there are plenty of things to do to celebrate across Central Florida. Gators, Ghosts and Goblins brings family-friendly fun every Saturday and Sunday beginning this weekend. READ: Gators, Ghosts and Goblins returns to Gatorland this fallFLAMING LIPSSome tickets are still available for The Flaming Lips Friday at 8 p.m. at Amway Center. ORLANDO COMEDY FESTIVALThe 7th Annual Orlando Comedy Festival kicks off its two-day laugh riot this weekend. PITBULL AND IGGY AZALEAPitbull and Iggy Azalea bring their Cant’ Stop Us Now Tour to Amway Center Sunday at 8 p.m. Click here for tickets.wftv.com
Halloween: 9 Central Florida events to get you excited for spooky season
Central Florida has plenty of events going on this month to help. Channel 9 compiled a list of nine Halloween-themed events happening throughout October:Spooktacular at SeaWorldSeaWorld Orlando’s family-friendly Halloween event is back for some seasonal fun. Happening Friday: Halloween Horror Nights returns to Universal Orlando (WFTV)Mickey’s Not-So-Scary HalloweenMickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is back at Magic Kingdom. Science Night DEADThe fan-favorite, adults-only night at the Orlando Science Center is getting all dressed up for Halloween on Oct. 22. ZombietoberfestGet your costumes ready for the Audubon Park Garden District’s Night Market with Zombietoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.wftv.com
Gatorland celebrates Back To School with special kids ticket offer
ORLANDO, Fla. — Just in time for the Labor Day weekend, Gatorland is offering a special ticket pricing for September. With each adult ticket purchased, children aged 3-12 will get free admission. The iconic theme park also announced that it is offering Florida residents a 50% discount off the single-day admission ticket. More information about Gatorland and ticket information can be found here. WATCH: Gatorland’s history a recent clue on ‘Jeopardy!’Expand Autoplay Image 1 of 5 Gatorland hatchlings Every day, more and more gator hatchlings are emerging at Gatorland.wftv.com
Gators, Ghosts and Goblins returns to Gatorland this fall
Gatorland Halloween While many Halloween celebrations are being canceling this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gatorland is welcoming guests for its second annual Gators, Ghosts and Goblins, Spooky Fun For Everyone event. (WFTV.com News Staff)ORLANDO, Fla. — The Alligator Capital of the World will offer up another spooky good time for Halloween. Gatorland announced Monday that the attraction will host its fourth annual Gators, Ghosts and Goblins Halloween event on weekends between Oct. 15-30. READ: Gatorland opening new encounter this summer featuring the world’s largest rodentThere will also be shows, games, candy giveaways and more. WATCH: Gatorland’s history a recent clue on ‘Jeopardy!’More details are expected to be announced in the weeks ahead, Gatorland said.wftv.com
Sea Life Orlando Aquarium celebrated Pride with a message of inclusiveness
, Fla. — As Pride month comes to an end, Sea Life Orlando Aquarium wants to remind residents that everyone is welcome. The aquarium celebrated Pride Month with a variety of themed enrichment activities with a few of the aquarium’s most beloved animals. Enrichment is a key part of the animal care team’s duties in order to stimulate and expand on the animals’ natural behaviors. Minerva, a giant Pacific octopus, painted a colorful masterpiece. Expand Autoplay Image 1 of 9 Sea Life Orlando Aquarium celebrates pride with a message of inclusivenessChely the green sea turtle chomped on a rainbow ice treat, and the terrapin turtle duo Thelma and Louise posed proudly in front of a Pride flag.wftv.com
Gatorland opening new encounter this summer featuring the world’s largest rodent
ORNAGE COUNTY, Fla. — Gatorland, the “Alligator Capital of the World,” is offering a brand-new encounter this summer. The Capybara Encounter is a new guide-lead adventure that takes visitors to see Ben and Jerry, the capybaras, up close on Flamingo Island. Ben and Jerry share the island with waterfowl, turtles and flamingos. “We just love Ben and Jerry and so do our guests,” said Mark McHugh, president and CEO of Gatorland. The encounter will be open in the afternoon, Monday through Friday, and cost $10 per person.wftv.com
9 things to do this weekend: Mess Fest, Gatorpalooza Fun Fest and more
9 things to do this weekendORLANDO, Fla. — Are you looking for something to do this weekend? Mess Fest will take place at the center on Saturday and Sunday. The Big Cat Summer Sip & Stroll is taking place at the Central Florida Animal Reserve on Sunday. Gatorland is hosting its Gatorpalooza Fun Fest this weekend. There will be music, food, a silent auction and door prizes.wftv.com
It’s alligator mating season, here are tips to keep you safe
ORLANDO, Fla. — Alligator mating season is upon us and with more people enjoying the spring weather, Gatorland is offering safety tips to the public. Alligators can be found in any body of water in the state of Florida and can be found in all 67 counties across The Sunshine State. Most alligator mating takes place in May and June, with nesting in late June and July. Read: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson reveals new wax figure coming to OrlandoHere are some important tips to keep in mind:· Be aware of your surroundings. You can report any alligator concerns by contacting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.wftv.com
WATCH: Gatorland’s history a recent clue on ‘Jeopardy!’
ORLANDO, Fla. — The history of Gatorland in Orlando and its connection with crocodiles took a bite out of one contestant’s chance for money but proved lucrative for another last week. The popular Orlando attraction was one of the clues Friday night in the Americana category. Watch it below:The Very Best Alligator & Crocodile park in the world. 🙌🙌🙌 Like & share & tag a friend who lives Gatorland‼️ Posted by Gatorland Orlando on Friday, January 28, 2022Bonecrusher “ruled Gatorland in the 1950s and 1960s” after he was brought to the park, according to its website. READ: ‘Jeopardy!’ champion Amy Schneider robbed in OaklandClick here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.wftv.com
Gatorland extends Florida resident discount
ORLANDO, Fla. — Gatorland is extending its Florida resident discount through the end of February. By showing proof of residency, you can get into the 110-arce theme park for one day at half price. READ: Florida state troopers corral 12-foot gator on Alligator AlleyThe theme park is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.To learn more about the offer, click here. READ: Record number of manatees counted at Blue Spring State ParkExpand Autoplay Image 1 of 5 Gatorland hatchlings Every day, more and more gator hatchlings are emerging at Gatorland. (Gatorland)Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.wftv.com
Maluma’s ‘Papi Juancho’ tour brought a blend of reggaeton and pop to the Amway Center
Maluma’s ‘Papi Juancho’ tour brought a blend of reggaeton and pop to the Amway Center20 Orlando area corn mazes and pumpkin patches to explore this fallThis Florida home comes with a bloody Halloween mural in one of the bedroomsGatorland’s ‘Gators, Ghosts & Goblins’ brings Halloween to the best Orlando attractionEx-Magic player Victor Oladipo’s Orlando home (complete with massive sneaker closet) just soldCrummy Gummy’s portraits showcase Orlando’s LGBTQ art kidsphotos.orlandoweekly.com
Gatorland’s ‘Gators, Ghosts & Goblins’ brings Halloween to the best Orlando attraction
Gatorland has quietly chugged along as one of the best ways to spend a day in Orlando for over half a century. That hasn't changed with the advent of spooky season. On select days this month, the zoo goes horrific for "Gators, Ghosts & Goblins." Orlando Weekly got a sneak peek of the offerings including, monster museums, cryptozoology exhibits, haunted performers and an undead polka band. Check out the photos and head to Gatorland's website for more info.photos.orlandoweekly.com
Gatorland announces first gator hatchlings of the season
Gatorland The theme park announced its first American Alligator hatchlings of the season on Monday. (Gatorland)ORLANDO, Fla. — Every day, more and more gator hatchlings are emerging at Gatorland. The theme park announced its first American Alligator hatchlings of the season on Monday. The gators typically lay between 35 to 40 eggs, which take 60 to 65 days to hatch. About six weeks after they are born, they get to live in their own resort at Gatorland’s Baby Gator Swamp with other baby gators and turtles.wftv.com
Want to name an alligator? Gatorland gives fans chance to adopt first rescue gator of the year
ORLANDO, Fla. — Gatorland announced it welcomed its first rescue alligator of 2021 through its Gatorland Global dedicated conservation program. The 11-foot male alligator was living near Fellsmere on the Indian River near a boat ramp. Let’s face it, Gatorland is alligator paradise and this lucky gator just won the lotto.”READ: Rescued alligators from Midwest find warm forever home in Central FloridaGatorland is giving fans a chance to adopt its newest addition. Anyone interested in adopting the gator can go to the Gatorland Facebook page and post a comment at the bottom of this video. READ: Don’t be gator bait: Safety tips for alligator mating season in FloridaThe winner will need to provide an adoption donation of $500 that will go to fund alligator rescue and conservation work through Gatorland Global, the park said.wftv.com
Don’t be gator bait: Safety tips for alligator mating season in Florida
ORLANDO, Fla. — As alligator mating season begins in Florida, it’s important to be “gator aware” to avoid possible injury or death. The alligator experts at Gatorland have shared some advice to help people avoid the dangerous reptiles while enjoying the outdoors. Watch: Monstrous alligator strolls Florida golf course- DO NOT FEED the gators. In Florida, it’s illegal to feed or harass an alligator. Watch: Deputies free alligator from storm drain in FloridaYou can also report any alligator concerns by contacting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.wftv.com
Smaller Central Florida attractions like Legoland and Gatorland should see benefits from sold-out theme parks
Last month I shared some encouraging signs of recovery at Orlando's attractions, and those small shoots have become full-blown blossoms ahead of spring's arrival. Construction on Universal's Epic Universe has officially resumed, Walt Disney World's theme park reservations are booked solid with spring breakers, and all signs are pointing toward a blockbuster summer travel season. Brickbeard's Watersports Stunt Show debuted at Legoland Florida as part of February's Pirate Fest Weekends, and performances of the new show continue daily at the park's lakeside amphitheater. With or without the plastic pirate shtick, that's a tradition worth passing on to the next generation. Don't worry, you should be perfectly safe ... just so long as you don't smell like plastic or goldfish.orlandoweekly.com
Which lake in Florida has the most alligators?
ORLANDO, Fla. – If you live in Central Florida, alligators can show up anytime, anywhere. (Scroll down to see which Florida lakes have the most “bull” alligators.) While gator encounters often make headlines, News 6 wanted to know just how frequent are those sightings, and where are Florida alligators spotted the most? News 6 found, at least once a day on average, Florida alligators and human habitats collide. That is considered “bull gator” status, and locally, Lake Poinsett on the St. Johns River, Lake Kissimmee in Osceola County, and Lake Jesup in Seminole County had the largest population of “bull” alligators (or alligators longer than nine feet).
Gatorland extends special rate for Florida residents
ORLANDO, Fla – Gatorland is extending its popular Florida resident special. Now through Feb. 15, guests can visit the alligator capital of the world for just $9.99 for single-day admission. The park has a large collection of alligators, a free-flight aviary, a petting zoo, one-of-a-kind animal shows, the thrilling Screamin’ Gator Zip Line and the new Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure. Guests must show proof of Florida residency when purchasing the special offer at Gatorland’s admission gates. The theme park is also allowing guests to apply the cost of admission toward an annual pass, which includes a number of benefits.
Gatorland brings back special rate for Florida residents
ORLANDO, Fla – Gatorland has brought back its most popular Florida resident special, but only for a limited time. The theme park said guests can visit the alligator capital of the world for just $9.99 for single-day admission. The park has a large collection of alligators, a free-flight aviary, a petting zoo, one-of-a-kind animal shows, the thrilling Screamin’ Gator Zip Line and the new Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure. Guests must show proof of Florida residency when purchasing the special offer at Gatorland’s admission gates. The theme park is also allowing guests to apply the cost of admission toward an annual pass, which includes a number of benefits.
Gatorland takes a bite out of the holidays with all new Christmas event
ORLANDO, Fla – Christmas in Florida would not be complete without a Christmas tree surrounded by dozens of hungry alligators. The popular wildlife park is beginning its first annual Holiday Ho Ho Ho-Down Christmas event this weekend. [TRENDING: Animal nearly severs woman’s arm at Carole Baskin’s rescue | CDC: Avoid travel to Mexico | Brightline targets 2022 for OIA station]“We are so excited to be presenting our very first holiday event this year. The theme park will also offer holiday food items for purchase throughout the park. The holiday event is included with regular admission and runs Dec. 5, 6, 13, 14, 19 and 20.
Gatorland thanks veterans, active military with free admission
Gatorland is showing its appreciation to veterans, as well as active and retired military personnel, with free admission starting Nov. 11. [TRENDING: Donald Trump wins Florida | US presidential race results | Floridians vote to raise minimum wage to $15/hour]Four family members with the veteran or active military member will also receive 20% off admission. The veteran’s free admission deal lasts through Nov. 30. Also in November, Gatorland is offering anyone 50% off its Greater Gator Package. For $20.21 you can get admission to the park, an alligator meet-n-greet, unlimited train rides and gator chow to feed those hungry beasts.
Gatorland kicks off Gators, Ghosts, and Goblins Halloween event
ORLANDO, Fla. – Gatorland Orlando is celebrating Halloween all month long with its second annual Gators, Ghosts and Goblins event. Though this year things are different because of the pandemic, visitors can expect a lot of social distancing. Though SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular event was not canceled this year. The Halloween event takes place every weekend in October and ends November 1. “We’ve been running a very safe park for the last four five months and people should feel comfortable coming out here,” McHugh said.
How Gatorland’s CEO kept reptiles, employees happy during coronavirus closure
ORLANDO, Fla. – Gatorland has been around for 71 years and current CEO Mark McHugh says they have never seen anything like what the coronavirus pandemic. It has weathered hurricanes, tornadoes, recessions and even a fire that burned down its main building some 14 years ago. While nothing could prepare them for the coronavirus, Gatorland was somehow prepared to take care of its 190 employees though it all. “Most of them were at home, sheltering in place, taking care of themselves and their families," McHugh said. Listen to the full episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate on iTunes here or on Sticher here.
Gatorland reopens after COVID-19 shuts down park for two months
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Gatorland reopened to park guests on Saturday after getting approval from the Governor and Orange County mayor earlier this week. RELATED: Gatorland announces reopening date alongside Universal, other attractionsThe theme park reopened for the first time Saturday morning since closing on March 18 due to COVID-19. McHugh said people lined up outside the park an hour and a half before it was set to open. The park got approval from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Governor Ron DeSantis to reopen. "It's nerve-wracking, but with social distancing and stuff I think everything will be fine," Perry said.
Central Florida could see uptick in coronavirus cases as attractions reopen
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. Announcements came Friday that several Central Florida attractions -- Universal Orlando, Fun Spot and Gatorland, to name a few -- were planning to open in the near future, but that doesnt mean the local impact of the coronavirus pandemic is over. Pino said right now, the county is seeing about 20 to 30 cases a day. Before being allowed to open, those attractions were required to present plans to Orange Countys Economic Recovery Task Force that included restrictions meant to prevent a second wave of coronavirus cases. With the cumulative total of cases in Orange County at 1,744 and a positivity rate of 2.9%, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said hes optimistic that the region wont see a spike in infections. To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6s coronavirus newsletter or go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.
From Gatorland to Universal, Orange County theme parks make big moves toward reopening
The Orlando Business Journal reported that SeaWorld's interim CEO Mark Swanson offered up June as their earliest possible opening date, with an all-clear nod then needing a few weeks to get employees back. George Kalogridis played his cards a little closer to the chest, per ClickOrlando . He talked about eventual plans to reopen at around 20 percent capacity as Disneyland Shanghai is currently doing. Executive Vice President and Chief Administration Officer John Sprouls pointed to the opening of CityWalk as an indicator of success of Universal's new guidelines. DeSantis.Disney execUniversal Orlando is moving more quickly, with word coming from the Sentinel that the park will be submitting its reopening plan to Demings' Economic Recovery Task Force today, making them the first major theme park to do so.orlandoweekly.com
Orlandos Gatorland introduces Social Distancing Skunk Ape to make sure guests stay safely apart
click to enlarge Photo courtesy GatorlandOrlando's Gatorland attraction, closed since March due to the coronavirus, is doing much more than hoping guests follow social distancing recommendations when the park reopens. That's why they've released a "Social Distancing Skunk Ape" to show that getting too close to other people right now really stinks. click to enlarge Photo courtesy GatorlandSavanah Boan with the Social Distancing Skunk ApeThe park hasn't announced a reopening date yet, but says it's happening "very soon," once state and local authorities give the go-ahead. "He tends to be more elusive than his cousin, Bigfoot, is 'insistent that you stay distant,' and reminds guests to stay six feet apart. "Skunk Ape is uniquely qualified on keeping people apart," says Mark McHugh, Gatorlands president and CEO.orlandoweekly.com
Gatorland opens world's largest white gator breeding facility
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Gatorland debuted its White Gator Swamp on Friday, which the park says is now the largest breeding facility for white alligators in the world. The habitat, made up of three natural exhibits, features two male leucistic alligators, one male albino and two female albino alligators. The facility was built to allow only filtered sunlight in, because of the sensitive skin of the white gators. "We've spent a lot of time designing and researching and developing this beautiful facility," McHugh said. Gatorland is also asking for help naming three baby albino alligators.
Help choose the Halloween costume for Amanda Castro's baby
ORLANDO, Fla. - Now's your chance to help News 6 weekend morning anchor Amanda Castro pick the baby costume for her first baby's first Halloween. That's a lot of firsts for Amanda and baby Andrew. [VOTE: Cast your ballot for your favorite costume]This year's contest is sponsored by Gatorland, so when you vote, you're automatically entered to win a family four-pack of tickets to the world-famous park. To honor our friends at Gatorland, what better way to celebrate Halloween than with adorable animal costumes? [VOTE: Cast your ballot for your favorite costume]Be sure to vote by Friday, October 25 to be included in the final decision.
Gatorland opens world's largest white gator breeding facility
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Gatorland debuted its White Gator Swamp on Friday, which the park says is now the largest breeding facility for white alligators in the world. The habitat, made up of three natural exhibits, features two male leucistic alligators, one male albino and two female albino alligators. The facility was built to allow only filtered sunlight in, because of the sensitive skin of the white gators. "We've spent a lot of time designing and researching and developing this beautiful facility," McHugh said. Their white skin is very sensitive to sunlight."
Get ready for down-home family fun at The Alligator Capital of the World -- Gatorland! We even have the largest collection of extremely rare white leucistic alligators. But, Gatorland is more than just a gator park! Our free-flight aviary, petting zoo, one-of-a-kind animal shows, thrilling Screamin Gator Zip Line and new Stompin Gator Off-Road Adventure ensure your day will be chock-full of fun, smiles and special memories! Gatorland is also Floridas leader in alligator safety and education since 1949.Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.
These are the consequences you could face for feeding Florida wildlife
The same, unnatural scene of alligators approaching people on the shore can occur when wild alligators are fed by humans, according to Fisher. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently issued a $100 citation to Paul Fortin for allegedly feeding wildlife. "We don't want people feeding alligators," said Fisher. In addition, Florida outlaws the feeding of other animals such as bears, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and nonhuman primates. "We don't want anybody feeding wildlife," FWC spokesman Chad Weber said.