Everglades Alligator Farm

Boy with Boa Constrictor

Everglades Alligator Farm visitor holding a boa constrictor

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By: Shayne Benowitz & Carolyn Keating

From alligators to exotic snakes, a day at Everglades Alligator Farm is an exciting experience.

Miami is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and by Everglades National Park to the west. Stretching 1.5 million acres across the tip of South Florida, these lush, subtropical wetlands make up one of the world’s most unique ecosystems. Composed of sawgrass prairies, hardwood hammocks and saltwater marshes, the Everglades support a diverse ecosystem and wildlife population that includes bald eagles, panthers, wild boars, white-tailed deer and, of course, alligators. Often referred to as the river of grass, one of the most popular ways to experience the Everglades is on an airboat ride skimming across the river’s shallow surface in search of alligators in the wild. For that experience and so much more, take a day trip through South Dade to visit Homestead’s Everglades Alligator Farm.

Located in the Redland, an agricultural district about 35 miles south of Miami, this Old Florida-style attraction is small and easy to navigate, perfect if you’ve got small children in tow. At the entrance’s gift shop, you’ll be tempted by all sorts of reptile souvenirs, including gator tooth necklaces, gator claw back scratchers and, yes, even gator jerky. As a working alligator farm, there are more than 2,000 gators on their property, which is located near the entrance of Everglades National Park. During a visit, you can watch an alligator and snake show, witness alligator feeding, hike along a nature trail and take an airboat ride across the river of grass.

The farm is landscaped with shade trees, orchids and other tropical plants. Small ponds and waterfalls provide a cooling touch and add to the tropical feel. In addition to snakes and alligators, you will also see many types of iguanas here, along with emus, bobcats and parrots. The park sells cold beverages, snacks and fried gator bites (yes, they really do taste like chicken). Snake and alligator shows each take place three times a day; the alligator feeding is twice daily.

Alligator & Snake Show

You'll be amazed as the Everglades Alligator Farm’s handlers step into an arena and use capturing techniques passed down by Native Americans to handle and restrain the alligators. You’ll learn all about alligators, as well as their reptilian relatives, like crocodiles and caimans, in this educational and exciting show. Every show ends with the opportunity to take your picture holding a baby alligator.

Don't miss the snake show on your visit where you’ll see a wide variety of snake species that are indigenous to the Everglades, like Burmese pythons, boa constrictors and green water snakes. You’ll also learn about the environmental problems that occur when introducing non-native snakes to the Everglades. If all of that isn’t too creepy and crawly for you, then get ready for your close up holding a snake as it slithers over your shoulders.

Alligator Feeding

For a spectacle you can’t “un-see,” stick around for one of the two daily alligator feedings as several hundred gators emerge for lunch from their breeding pond. Not only will you see how fast these fearsome creatures can move, but you’ll also learn about how they feed in the wild.

In addition to the two shows and the alligator feeding, you can walk along the Everglades Alligator Farm’s nature trail to view animals in the wild, as well as in exhibits and pins throughout the property. Keep your eyes peeled for the 14-foot long gator known as Grandpa.

Airboat Rides

Gliding across the glades aboard a high-speed airboat is easily the most exciting part of a visit to the Everglades Alligator Farm. With a flat bottom, lightweight aluminum hull and air propulsion from an enormous fan aft, these boats are made for exploring the shallow waters of Miami’s Everglades. You’ll spy on alligators in the wild, as well as turtles and tropical wading birds. It’s an exciting ride as the boat zooms across the river of grass making hairpin turns across a habitat you won’t see anywhere else.

Locals' tip:

Stop by Robert Is Here, a popular fruit stand and farm located along the road to Everglades Alligator Farm. This is a great place to grab a mango, strawberry or Key lime milkshake and marvel at the truly amazing selection of exotic tropical fruits, honeys, jellies and jams produced on nearby farms in the Redland.

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