Mark B. McHugh President & CEO, Gatorland He stands beside the murky water. Suddenly, a crocodile explodes from the deep and chases him on the shore, hoping to make him lunch. Not your typical staff meeting, but this isn’t your typical corporate executive either. Mark McHugh, President and Chief Executive Officer, knows that most of the residents at Gatorland would just as soon eat him as look at him. At the age of 36, McHugh took over the reins at Gatorland and has since introduced over 35 new attractions and exhibits at Orlando’s only attraction with bite and attitude. They range from one of the world’s largest collection of giant white alligators to free-flying lorikeets, new shows, animal encounters, and the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line. Each is a typical Mark McHugh project: exciting, entertaining, and unprecedented! McHugh’s goal is to provide an up-close, personalized [...]
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Gatorland Breaks Ground For $2.5 Million Park Expansion, Largest Since Opening in 1949 New Gator Joe's Adventure Outpost and Stompin' Gator Off-Road Adventure To Open Fall 2017 ORLANDO, Florida (April 19, 2017) – Complete with swamp dust, fireworks and fanfare,Gatorland®, the "Alligator Capital of the World," officially broke ground today for a $2.5 million park expansion, the largest since opening in 1949. The brand-new Gator Joe's Adventure Outpost and Stompin' Gator Off-Road Adventure are slated to open in early Fall 2017. Making an entrance on one of the 12-foot high, custom-made, off-road monster vehicles for the new Stompin' Gator Off-Road Adventure, Gatorland President & CEO, Mark McHugh, exclaimed, "You haven't seen nothing yet. Get ready for even more adventure at Gatorland." He then led media and VIPs for a special opportunity to board one of the off-road vehicles for a sample adventure. Also on [...]
Property Fact Sheet Overview Gatorland is a 110 - acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining “Old Florida” charm with exciting new exhibits and entertainment. The park opened as a roadside attraction in 1949. Today, it provides affordably-priced family fun featuring thousands of alligators, crocodiles, native and endangered birds, a free flight aviary, breeding marsh with observation tower, petting zoo, nature trails, a train ride, award-winning dining, a splash park, exceptional entertainment including the Gator Wrestlin’ Show, Gator Jumparoo, and the ‘Up-Close Encounter’ shows, the thrilling Screamin’ Gator Zip Line featuring over 1,200-feet of high flying thrills with five intense zip lines, some of which glide over the alligator breeding marsh and the Gator Gauntlet Accessible Zip Line. Gatorland also contains the largest collection of leucistic “white” alligators in the world. Established December 1949 Location The theme park is located on Highway 441/South Orange [...]
From Tails to Tales Stalking a Dream 1905 Owen Godwin Sr. is born and spends his youth on the homestead of his Uncle Lije at Rattlesnake Hammock, located on the Kissimmee River east of Sebring, Florida. Part of a ranching community known as Kissimmee Island, they were serviced by the steamers that carried supplies and tourists to Palm Beach from the railhead at Kissimmee. The kids could get an occasional tip by showing snakes and alligators to the passengers while their parents shopped. 1930’s Owen Godwin, Sr., builds an alligator pit in the backyard of his Sebring home, just south of Sebring, Florida. The pit is a sideline to Godwin’s other jobs as butcher and postmaster. His wife, Pearl, sells gator products – key chains, belts and the like – out of her kitchen. After making their purchases, customers step outside and stare in [...]
Gatorland Partners With WESH 2 Share Your Christmas Food Drive For 4th Consecutive Year Live Drop Off Location Scheduled For December 8th, Donations Accepted Now ORLANDO, Florida (Dec. 5, 2016) – Gatorland®, the "Alligator Capital of the World," is proud to announce it has partnered again with WESH 2 for the Share Your Christmas Food Drive. On Thursday, Dec. 8, between 6 a.m. and noon, the public is invited to stop by to drop off their food donations while WESH TV anchors broadcast live on location at Gatorland from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and do meet and greets until Gatorland makes its check presentation to Second Harvest Food Bank live during the noon newscast. Guests to Gatorland can begin dropping off their food donations at the park any day through Dec. 8, if they are unable to do so that day. "We are [...]
Gatorland® Invites Guests To Beat The Heat And Experience Gator Night Shine, An Exclusive After Hours Tour of the Sights and Sounds Along The Alligator Breeding Marsh Consistently Named A Park Guest Favorite ORLANDO, Florida (Aug. 8, 2016) – Visitors to Gatorland®, the "Alligator Capital of the World," can experience the park in a whole new way and beat the heat at the same time with the Gator Night Shine experience. Starting at dusk, visitors follow a guide for a private after hours tou,r taking them along the winding wooden walkways deep into the alligator breeding marsh to see the glowing red eyes of hundreds of alligators, follow their splashes and hear their bellows. Each guest receives a flashlight and hot dogs to feed the alligators. Visitors signing up for the 1 1/2 hour tour, have the unique opportunity to see and hear Gatorland [...]
Gatorland Reaches New Heights Theme park opens Orlando’s Wildest Zip line ORLANDO, Fla.--Gatorland is soaring to new heights in Central Florida as the theme park opens the world’s first zip line to race above giant alligators and crocodiles in the all new Screamin’ Gator Zip Line at Gatorland. This one-of-a-kind ride takes you on a breathtaking journey along 1,200 feet of high flying adventure from platforms designed to replicate the Breeding Marsh Tower. At heights up to 56 feet, guests will fly at speeds near 30 miles per hour through the park! An adrenaline rush guaranteed to bring out the true adventurer in everyone. The Screamin’ Gator Zip Line at Gatorland will carry the brave riders in length from 230 feet to more than 500 feet over some of the most exciting exhibits at Orlando’s only theme park with “Bite & Attitude.” On just [...]
Gatorland® Welcomes Jennifer Lynn Adams, Nationally Recognized Advocate For Accessibility, Inclusion and Adaptive Sports Adventures, As Special Ambassador
Gatorland® Welcomes Jennifer Lynn Adams, Nationally Recognized Advocate For Accessibility, Inclusion and Adaptive Sports Adventures, As Special Ambassador ORLANDO, Florida (Aug. 3, 2016) – Jennifer Lynn Adams has had a thrill of a lifetime. She just zip lined over a lake full of alligators and crocodiles, had a boa constrictor wrap itself around her, touched a tarantula and even wrestled a gator during her recent visit to Orlando’s Gatorland® theme park. Amazing experiences for anyone. But for Adams, born with partial limbs, they are just more adventures to add to a long list of adaptive sports accomplishments such as surfing, water skiing, downhill skiing, inter tubing, dancing and even aerial dancing. Through Adams’ passion for accessibility, inclusion and adaptive sports, she has become an ambassador for Gatorland’s Gator Gauntlet Wheelchair-Accessible Zip Line for park patrons with mobility challenges or other disabilities, which opened earlier [...]
Gatorland to Officially Launch Wheelchair-Accessible Gator Gauntlet Zip Line Exciting ride is inclusive to people with a variety of mobility challenges (ORLANDO, Fl.)--Gatorland, the “Alligator Capital of the World,” is officially launching its newest zip line ride, the Gator Gauntlet, an attraction accessible to park patrons with mobility challenges or other disabilities. The ride, which is wheelchair accessible, allows participants to travel 350 feet down a zip line, soaring over the park and its lake of giant alligators. To help kick off the launch, the 110-acre park is offering the Gator Gauntlet ride free for several groups during a special three-day promotion. On Thursday, Feb. 4, military veterans with mobility challenges can reserve a free ride on the zip line. On Friday, Feb. 5, free rides are available to Florida Disabled Outdoors Association (FDOA) members with mobility challenges. Middle- to high-school age children from [...]
GATOR SPOT, Presented by Gatorland, Celebrates Grand Opening Inside Fun Spot America-Orlando Theme Park
GATOR SPOT, presented by Gatorland, celebrates grand opening inside Fun Spot America-Orlando Theme Park (ORLANDO, Fl.)--GATORLAND®, the Alligator Capital of the World, and FUN SPOT AMERICA-ORLANDO THEME PARK marked the grand opening of GATOR SPOT, a 15,000 square-foot, reptile oasis. City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was on hand for the official ribbon “chomping.” The $1 million attraction features more than 100 alligators, including an extremely rare leucistic “white” alligator, one of only 12 in the world. In addition, Gator Spot showcases an array of exotic birds, snakes, lizards, and two gigantic aquariums filled with baby alligators. Guests may also participate in alligator feedings and snap iconic photographs with the resident reptiles. “Gator Spot is not only a welcome addition to International Drive--and the only place on International Drive that tourists can see 12-foot alligators--this attraction is creating jobs. It truly is a fantastic [...]