We woke up early (never a surprise when you have three kids), with no plans for the day. Whilst I made breakfast and gave the RV a quick tidy, Johnny and the girls had another attempt at catching a fish (again with no luck). We had a walk around the campsite before deciding that we were going to head to Alligator Alley!
Alligator alley is located 19 miles away from Pandion ridge RV resort. We parked the RV up in the car park and went into the reception area. There is a small shop where you can purchase alligator themed merchandise. The price for entry is $12 per adult, $10 for children ages 4-2 years old, and children ages 3 and under go in free. You can also buy alligator chow for an extra $4 per cup/ $17 per bucket (I would highly recommend buying some as you get to feed all of the alligators).
As you walk in there are lots of hatchlings to look at. From there, you can walk through the park, looking at all of the young alligators ranging from babies to 7 years old. There enclosures are set up in age order so you can see how they grow. We were surprised at just how many alligators there were in each enclosure. You can see 450 alligators at alligator alley! We didn’t know how interested the alligators would be in the alligator chow, but as soon as we threw it in the alligators all rushed to get it.
After looking at all of the infant gators (and going through a bucket full of chow), it was time to take a look at the fully-grown alligators. Wow! It was incredible to see them so close. We were fascinated by how huge some of them were. The enclosure for the adult gators is huge. They have a river with grassy banks that runs into a swamp.
All of the alligators have been rescued from dangerous places, and visiting Alligator Alley allows you to see them in their natural habitat. You will see them lazing around on the river bank and swimming through the slimy swamp. You can get up close by walking along the elevated boardwalk that leads around the swamp. It’s a beautiful walk and if you’re lucky you can see all sorts of wildlife, including turtles.
After walking around the swamp (and going through another bucket full of alligator chow), we went to the hands-on area. You can see and even hold lizards and snakes. Poppy was in her element and couldn’t wait to ‘cuddle’ the pythons. She held every snake including the biggest python they have (it seemed like a good idea at the time, not such a great idea when a pet python went to the top of her birthday list). They also have tortoises and turtles you can look at.
Throughout the day, there are live feeding shows. We head down to the boardwalk where it was taking place. You are given lots of information about the alligators whilst the guide stands inside the enclosure feeding meat to the alligators! After feeding time, you get the chance to hold a baby alligator. This was the only downside to the day, as the poor baby gator had his mouth taped shut.
There are plenty of picnic benches and nice grassy areas to sit for a picnic. There is no on-site café/restaurant but there are a couple of vending machines if you need to grab a drink or a snack. After a few hours, it was time to get back on the road and begin the drive to the next state.
When it comes to planning our trips, it’s mainly down to me to sort out the route and any activities. Johnny did however have one suggestion (aside from fishing) … visiting a Bass Pro shop. And there just so happened to be one on the route to Mississippi.
Stepping into the Bass Pro shop is like nothing I’ve seen before. We didn’t know where to look first. There are rows upon rows of fishing equipment, hunting gear, speed boats and more. The detail in the displays are outstanding. We walked around looking the fish tanks and waterfalls inside the store. The girls, who had originally moaned about going to ‘another fishing shop’ were amazed!
The restaurant in the shop has a huge aquarium, with lots of beautiful fish. We got a table next to the tank and ordered ourselves some burgers and seafood. The waitress serving us was extremely friendly and gave us lots of tips for our trip. The food was delicious and the portion sizes were huge! We left feeling very full, with some sweets for the journey, and some new crocs for Johnny. (One of his top tips for a road trip- get yourself some crocs for driving).
Next stop… Mississippi!