Alligators Invade Orlando Resort

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A gaggle of native Florida creatures, including alligators, turtles and snakes, have arrived inside the glass-topped atriums of Gaylord Palms Resort. The invasion is part of a new exhibition called Â?Best of Florida LIVE! Â? Creatures and Habitats of the Sunshine State.Â? The exhibit is presented by Gaylord Palms and GATORLAND, the Alligator Capital of the World.

– A gaggle of native Florida creatures, including alligators, turtles and snakes, have arrived inside the glass-topped atriums of Gaylord Palms Resort. The invasion is part of a new exhibition called “Best of Florida LIVE! – Creatures and Habitats of the Sunshine State.” The exhibit is presented by Gaylord Palms and GATORLAND, the Alligator Capital of the World TM.

“Best of Florida LIVE!” includes three new animal habitats found in the resort’s St. Augustine and Everglades atriums. In the St. Augustine atrium, a specially designed habitat features a natural setting, reminiscent of Florida’s natural springs with rocks, waterfalls, a sandy shore, and plenty of water. This habitat, called Gator Springs, is home to 15 juvenile alligators and 30 native species turtles. Guests have an opportunity to attend gator feedings and information sessions, which are held several times a week by a member of the GATORLAND curatorial staff.    

In the Everglades atrium, two exhibits are housed at Sawgrass Place, a building themed as a backwaters homestead. The first includes four species of Florida snakes, securely displayed within swamp themed habitats. The second features baby alligators, otherwise known as “grunts,” after the noise the reptiles make.

“Our vision has always been to celebrate the entire Sunshine State within the Gaylord Palms atriums,” said John Caparella, general manager. “By including live animals and their habitats, we’ve brought our vision to the next level – we can now celebrate the creatures for which our state is famous!”

Gator Springs features five native species of turtles: Florida Soft-shell, Florida Cooter, Florida Red-bellied , Common map and Painted turtles. The juvenile American alligators found in this area were hatched at GATORLAND. The gators will live at Gaylord Palms until the animals reach roughly three feet in length. After such time, the alligators will be reintroduced to one of the larger animal exhibits at the theme park. The snake exhibit at Sawgrass Place features Florida’s non-venomous snakes.

The turtles are fed three times a week with a diet of a nutrient-dense pellet, catfish fillets, mussels, romaine or bib lettuce, and a variety of fish. The gators fed a diet of red meat three times a week.

At Gator Springs, the best chance to spot the gators and turtles is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when they’re basking in the atrium sunlight. But thanks to special features within the habitat -- including UV lighting and an island-style rock heated to nearly 90-degrees Fahrenheit -- it’s not uncommon to find them lounging out of the water at all hours. At Sawgrass Place, the snakes and baby alligators can be seen throughout day and evening hours.

“Best of Florida LIVE!” is free to guests and visitors to Gaylord Palms Resort.

The Gaylord Palms atriums feature replicas of famous Florida landmarks, including Castillo de San Marcos, Key West’s Mallory Square, the bell tower from Flagler College and the Everglades. The atriums also feature three award-winning restaurants, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop, and several shops and boutiques. Gaylord Palms is also home to the prestigious Canyon Ranch SpaClub, and La Petite Academy Kids Station.

About Gaylord Palms

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center has gained the attention of the meeting and convention industry by providing world-class convention and leisure-focused amenities – all in one place. The award-winning Gaylord Palms is a Gaylord Hotels-branded property owned by Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET), a leading hospitality and entertainment company based in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit http://www.gaylordpalms.com or http://www.gaylordentertainment.com.

About GATORLAND

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. Known internationally as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” Gatorland today provides affordably priced family fun with thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with a boardwalk and observation tower, one-of-a-kind reptilian shows, a miniature water park, an aviary and petting zoo and educational program among other highlights.

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