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.
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!
Photo: The St. Augustine Alligator Farm