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By: Matthew Meltzer

In Greater Miami & Miami Beach, we have many places where you can see alligators live and up close. Viewing alligators responsibly can be a memorable and magical experience, so check out these nature attractions near the Everglades – as well as the wilds of Everglades National Park – to see alligators on your next Miami vacation.

Tram
Get on the tram to tour Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

Nowhere in the United States offers the opportunity to see alligators in their natural habitat quite like Everglades National Park. Alligators are everywhere inside the park, and catching a glimpse isn’t a question of if but when. The dry season (December through April) is prime for alligator viewing, but your chances are good any time of year. Check out the bike paths at the park’s Shark Valley entrance, a 15.4-mile loop that takes you through canals and estuaries where gators love to hang out. Don’t be too alarmed if you see an alligator sunning itself along the paved path – just keep a very respectful distance. If you didn’t bring your own bike along, rentals are available on a first-come, first-served basis at Shark Valley. The park also offers tram rides, if you’d like the security of a motorized vehicle on your gator-watching adventure.

Another prime spot for alligator viewing is on the Anhinga Trail, near Everglades National Park’s main entrance in Homestead. Part of the trail is paved and part is on a boardwalk.

Alligator Swimming
Explore the Florida Everglades

Everglades Safari Park

Want to delve deep into the backwaters of the Everglades, but don’t want to navigate the wilderness by yourself? Leave it to the expert captains at Everglades Safari Park, who know every twist and turn of the mangrove islands – and, more importantly, where to find wild alligators. Once you’re done exploring one of the most unique ecosystems in the world, head back to the park for a live wildlife show, where in addition to American alligators you’ll see birds, snakes and other native creatures. You can also stretch your legs and take a stroll down Everglades Safari Park’s jungle trail, where you’ll pass more wildlife and alligators.

Holding Alligator
Interact with a baby alligator

Everglades Alligator Farm

If you’re looking for a supremely interactive experience, you’ll find it at Everglades Alligator Farm. This park in Homestead offers exclusive alligator encounters, where you’ll get to hold alligators of various ages and sizes, hang out with one of the gators from the park’s gator show, and even feed some of the gators from a VIP feeding area. You’ll watch as more than 250 animals vie for food right in front of you.

For a not-so-up-close-and-personal experience, the farm’s gator show offers an excellent alternative. You’ll get an extensive education from expert handlers and learn about all the ways native indigenous people traditionally trapped these modern-day dinosaurs. You can also watch live feedings four times a day, beginning at 10 a.m.

Biking Shark Valley
Admire, respect & enjoy the wildlife

Viewing Alligators Safely

When viewing alligators in nature, remember that they are powerful, wild creatures. Keep small children and pets close and away from the water’s edge. Although they may appear to be sleeping, alligators can swim and run very quickly. Do not approach alligators or get too close in order to get photos. Never feed wild alligators – it is illegal because it habituates them to humans, who are then seen as a food source. When visiting nature attractions, follow the directions of park staff.

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