St. Augustine Alligator Farm

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm was founded in 1893 and was originally a small exhibition of Florida reptiles. However, it soon became a must-see attraction for tourists and eventually grew to a full-service modern zoo.

The founders, George Reddington and Felix Fire, began collecting alligators from Anastasia Island in the late nineteenth century. They ultimately founded the St. Augustine Alligator Farm at South Beach and thanks to advertisements of the South Beach Railway Company, the Alligator Farm grew quickly in popularity. Photo: hasky2/Fotolia


»The St. Augustine Alligator Farm History

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm History


The Farm flourished and was featured in many tourist attraction magazines and guide books. It quickly earned a reputation as 'the world's largest alligator farm” and was an essential tourist attraction in Florida.

Sadly, in September 1920, a horrible rainstorm ravaged South Beach, destroying the railroad tracks and simultaneously ending the consistent flow of tourists to the area's attractions. The following December, a fire destroyed many businesses on South Beach, luckily the Alligator Farm was unharmed. Their good fortune did not last long, unfortunately, just 4 months later, yet another fire occurred, ultimately burning down the Alligator Farm.

The owners of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm decided it was time to relocate and rebuild. They wanted a location frequented by tourists and easy to access - the lighthouse. The relocation went quickly and smoothly, and the Farm is still at this location today.

The original founders of the Farm continued its day-to-day operations until 1937, when it was sold to two businessmen, W.I. Drysdale and F. Charles Usina. These two managed to create a reputation for the Farm beyond St. Augustine, and ultimately on a national scale. They began improving the exhibits, adding new and exciting animals, and even new facilities like a gift shop and offices.

Throughout the years, the Farm's education, research, and entertainment programs grew exponentially. Scientists from the University of Florida spent many years researching the wildlife that calls the Farm home. The Farm has managed to education the public and generate a better understanding of Florida's natural resources and wildlife.

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As of 1989, the Farm had been accredited by The American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, making it a nationally recognized zoological facility. The mission of the Farm is to educate and conserve Florida's wildlife. The hardworking staff and volunteers hope to instill a deeper appreciation and respect of these magnificent creatures that people had previously feared.

Today, visitors can enjoy the Alligator Farm's vast wildlife collection of crocodiles, birds, fish, and many other species of reptiles and amphibians. And, for the thrill-seeking visitors - there is even a zip-line tour over the crocodile habitats. Explore Florida's wildlife like never before.

With such a rich history filled with dedication and entertainment, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is sure to delight visitors of all ages. All sorts of shows, exhibits, and attractions await!

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»Exhibits, Rides & Attractions

Exhibits, Rides & Attractions


There are so many exciting things to do at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, including the Wading Bird Rookery, the Lemurs of Madagascar, the Python Cave, Maximo, the Land of Crocodiles, the Realm of the Saltie, Gomek Forever, Fossil Discoveries, El Native Reptiles, Exotic Birds and Mammals, Birds of Africa, and even Albino Alligators.

On top of having every living species of Crocodile to see, there are also daily wildlife shows throughout the park.

The Wading Bird Rockery features various species of birds living in the wild. The birds are free to come and go as they please and do not rely on the Alligator Farm for care of food. They wild birds migrate, lay eggs, and relocate just as they would in the wild. Wooden walkways allow visitors to experience these birds up-close-and-personal. Typical species of birds that can be found include herons, egrets, spoonbills, and wood storks.

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The Lemurs of Madagascar exhibit features those fuzzy playful primates swinging from tree-to-tree. Visitors can see all different species and watch as they play and interact with their fellow lemurs. There are even endangered species in this exhibit, the Red-ruffed Lemur and the Ring-tailed lemur.

The Python Cave is sure to give visitors the chills, as one of the world's most feared reptiles is on display. The pride and joy of the Alligator Farm is the 21-foot Python that calls this exhibit home, it is capable of eating large mammals in one bite.

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»More Exibits

More Exibits


Maximo is a 15 foot 3 inch, 1,250 pound Crocodile, he is the largest animal at the Farm and visitors can see him up-close-and-personal. He was hatched from an egg that was collected from Australia. Maximo isn't the only gigantic creature to ever call the Alligator Farm home. He was over 18 feet long and more than 2,000 pounds! He is now tastefully preserved at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm to visitors to enjoy.

The Land of Crocodiles features all of the species of crocodiles who reside at the Alligator Farm. This is where visitors can learn about each species and enjoy seeing each one in their natural habitats. The Albino Alligators display the rare and mystical albino creatures from the Lousiana bayou.

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The Realm of Saltie features the Land Down Under's saltwater crocodiles and other exciting animals, such as the world's most dangerous bird, the Southern Cassowary. The Fossil Discoveries exhibit allows visitors to explore the evolution of reptiles of the centuries.

The Florida Native Reptiles Exhibit features the reptiles, small mammals, and birds that naturally call Florida home. The Exotic Birds and Mammals exhibit displays those animals that do not naturally call Florida home. Of these, two of the monkey species are endangered.

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The Birds of Africa exhibit features birds from the African Savannah, including some of the world's largest and fiercest scavengers. There is also a daily feeding demonstration.

All of these exhibits and many more exciting attractions can be found at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Members of the entire family will find something to enjoy! St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida - Photo: The St. Augustine Alligator Farm

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»Conservation and Research Programs

Conservation and Research Programs

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm prides itself on its collaboration with other zoos around the world to preserve exotic species that are endangered from issues such as habitat loss, overexploitation and environmental pollution.

Through their Species Survival Plan the zoo's hard-working researchers can manage the breeding and survival of the endangered animals on their list. Some other these animals on the Alligator Farm's SSP list, which can also be found in the park, are: The Siamese Crocodile, The Indian Gharial, The Cuban Crocodile, The Pygmy Marmoset, The Hooded Vulture, and the Golden Conure. There are dozens more species under the protection of the Alligator Farm and its zoo partners.

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There are many research programs going on at the Alligator Farm and there are still so many things scientists don't know about these magnificent creatures. Some of the active programs going on include: Salt Water Crocodiles and their egg-laying process, Field Research in Gambia, Crocodilian Immune Activity, and the link between various reptiles and dinosaurs.

This research and so much more is going on at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and their partners. The money spent at the Alligator Farm goes right to caring for and protecting these exotic animals. For more information, there is a research blog on the Alligator Farm's website.

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»Planning your Visit

Planning your Visit


The St. Augustine Alligator Farm has many different options for visiting, including group, military, and senior discounts, class field trips, overnight zoo camps, and even an option for hosting parties.

There are plenty of fun-filled events going on at the Farm, such as Parent's Night Out where adults can enjoy the zoo while the helpful zoo staff keeps an eye on the kids. There are also Halloween-themed events such as Creatures of the Night, where families can come trick-or-treat and have hands-on experiences with creepy bugs and other animals.

The Zoo also has an option for hosting large events, those interested can host their next conference, event, or workshop surrounded by lush foliage and the beauty of nature. There are overnight zoo camps for the kids to be both entertained and educated while making new friends. The Zoo even has a smaller event center for hosting birthday parties.

St. Augustine is the oldest city in Florida, so it is filled with plenty of historical and cultural hotspots to visit. There are picturesque beaches and numerous places nearby for fine dining and shopping. The Alligator Farm itself is located next to the historic St. Augustine Lighthouse, which is also a popular tourist destination. For more information, visit St. Augustine's tourism website.

Education

The Alligator Farm has trained zoological professionals ready to teach and entertain members of the whole family. Not only do they educate visitors about the daily life, habits, and environment of the animals in their care, they also emphasis proper safety regarding these natural predators.

From private or group tours, workshops, lectures, or the vast amount of teacher's resources, there s never a shortage of educational entertainment at the Alligator Farm.

Back to: Best Things to Do in St. Augustine, Florida

999 Anastasia Blvd, St Augustine, Florida 32080, website, Phone: 904-824-3337 St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida - Photo: GianlucaMenciassi/Fotolia

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St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida