What It’s Like to Be on the Gator Boys Cast

Gator Boys

Gator Boys

Mention the Gator Boys cast in South Florida and you’re sure to get a few smiles. Alligators are the sunshine state’s most beloved (and feared) reptile, and over the years the Gator Boys cast members have become local celebrities recognized well beyond the borders of the sunshine state. With a bite that’s more powerful than a lion, quick reflexes and an average weight of nearly 200 pounds, the American alligator is intimidating to say the least. When it comes to catching and handling gators, no one does it better than Paul Bedard and the Gator Boys. So what is it really like to be a Gator Boy in South Florida?

What They Do

For several years, Paul and the Gator Boys cast have been tasked with visiting different locations throughout South Florida to capture nuisance gators who have wandered into ponds, swamps, and even backyard swimming pools. Once on location, Paul jumps in after the gator, braving who knows what in unknown waters. Locating nuisance gators isn’t always easy, but it’s only the beginning as the team works to catch the reptile using nothing more than bare hands and some rope. After the gator is secured, Paul drags it onto shore where it is loaded onto a truck and taken away. In a recent interview, Paul explains that the most “challenging” part of rescuing gators isn’t facing them, but getting close enough to secure their snout with the rope. He insists he’s never frightened, but admits finding them in the water is sometimes “daunting”. In some cases, by the time he arrives on scene, the gator is gone.

A Rescue Effort Through and Through

The Gator Boys cast and crew is passionate about saving the lives of gators, believing whole-heartedly that relocating nuisance gators is the most humane solution. That may very well be true, because gators who are caught and captured in residential areas by trappers are generally sold for meat and skin. Paul and the team work tirelessly to bring well deserving gators to a safe heaven, or sanctuary where they can live comfortably. For many alligators, that place is Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale.

The Gator Boys Alligator Rescue at Everglades Holiday Park

Everglades Holiday Park is proud to be the official home of the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue, an effort which began through Paul’s selfless efforts to save alligators from trappers. Today, the park is proud to showcase the rescued gators as part of a day of adventure families enjoy while visiting the Everglades. With guided airboat tours, live gator shows (performed by the Gator Boys) and up-close animal encounters with interesting creatures, visitors come face-to-face with wildlife while enjoying the most exciting natural attraction in South Florida - the amazing Everglades.Paul insists that he rarely gets frightened, even when facing ferocious gators in the water and that’s no surprise, because Paul and the Gator Boys cast and crew at Everglades Holiday Park are experts when it comes to handling Florida’s ancestral dinosaur.Many of the “Gator Boys” episodes are filmed here in Everglades Holiday Park, and a lot of our guests enjoy getting the chance to meet the stars of this hit television series. Guests on our gator tours also love experiencing our world-famous “Gator Pit,” after an airboat tour, featuring one of the show’s stars. While we can never be sure who will be appearing on what day, if you’re interested in meeting the Gator Boys’ cast – Paul, Chris and Ashley – you have a good chance at Everglades Holiday Park.In addition to experiencing the sheer beauty of the Everglades and enjoying a day on the lake fishing, you might even meet a star! In any event, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime and you’ll have the pictures to prove it. Visit the Gator Boys at Everglades Holiday Park today!This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .

Are There Really Alligators In the Sewers?

Alligators Photo credit: Janet Landry Borden

Sewers are dark and scary places - common resting spots for some of the most unbecoming things. Trash, rats, sewage and who knows what else lurk under the streets in the Big Apple. But alligators? Are there really reptiles living beneath one of the most exciting cities in the world? If you’ve ever wondered if the urban legend is true, here’s some information that may surprise you.

So the Story Goes…

Sightings of alligators in the New York sewer system were rampant in the 1930’s and 40’s when countless residents made claims that they came face-to-face with the voracious reptile. The story is that wealthy New York families visiting Florida would purchase baby gators as pets. Soon after, when the novelty wore off and the gator started to demand more food, they were disposed of through the family toilet. Banished into the sewer system, abandoned gators had no other choice but to find food and survive underneath the city, lurking in the shadows of the sewer system. Since the 1930’s, multiple sightings have been reported in various newspapers throughout the city - some highly credible. In 1932, the New York Times ran a piece on a gator sighting in the Bronx and another a few years later in East Harlem.

Embracing the Gator-Drama: Is It Really Based In Reality?

Believe it or not, the city of New York embraces the gator drama, even going as far as to dedicate February 9th as “Alligators in the Sewers Day”. A tradition that for the past four years finds folks celebrating with enthusiasm and excitement, the idea of gators in the city isn’t make believe at all to many. Astonishingly, there is some evidence to suggest that the myth may have a strong basis in reality. For instance, it’s a well-known fact that some reptiles do indeed live in modern New York sewers. Snapping turtle sightings have been verified and are well documented. In fact, in 2006, lawmakers actually designated the snapping turtle the official state animal. Really!

The Real Deal: Alligators Do Exist In the Florida Everglades

While the truthfulness of sewer gators may be up for debate, there is one place where there is no question about the existence of alligators - the Florida Everglades. Whether you live in New York or you’re a long time resident of the sunshine state, there’s simply no substitute for seeing the real thing. Families, photographers, artists and anyone interested in witnessing the American alligator up close and personal take delight in visiting the Everglades. Take an exciting airboat ride across miles of open wetland, enjoy an exciting live alligator show and spend the day marveling at gators, wading birds, tropical snakes and more. It may not be as fast-paced or trendy as New York City, but I’ll bet the gators in the Florida Everglades are more than happy to call the wetlands home. Conveniently located in Fort Lauderdale, Everglades Holiday Park is a family fun destination and home to Gator Boys Alligator Rescue from Animal Planet’s hit show – Gator Boys! There’s only one Everglades, and only one way to see it! Visit us today! This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .

Why Is Protecting The Everglades So Important?

everglades

The Everglades

Marjory Douglas, also known as the “Mother of the Everglades” once said, “The Everglades is a test. If we pass it, we get to keep the planet”. Conserving and protecting the Ecosystem and its wildlife is a top priority. With countless species of animals, many endangered or threatened, it’s easy to see why so many groups, both private and public work towards this goal. A wetland of international importance, the Everglades is one of the last untouched, natural environments in the United States where families can enjoy sightseeing, airboating and more.

There aren’t many landmasses as spectacular in America as the Florida Everglades. An impressive aquatic ecosystem covering more than 18,000 square miles, the ‘glades is an aesthetic novelty for sure, but it’s also home to an unbelievable number of plants and animals - some threatened or endangered. Aside from its natural beauty, the ecosystem provides millions of South Floridians with drinking water, and is a tremendous asset to the sunshine state. So why is the Everglades in need of protection and what is being done to improve one of America’s most exciting natural resources?

Brief History: The Health of the Everglades

The health of the Everglades is a major concern, and efforts to protect and conserve this unique environment are ongoing. Why have the wetlands suffered over the years? Draining and development dates back to the early 1900’s and many projects designed to alter the Everglades went unquestioned. In the mid 1980’s, in efforts to protect coastal properties in South Florida, legislators thought it was a good idea to construct canals and pump systems to control water flow. Drainage projects were designed to help excess water recede, making it less likely coastal lands would flood. Negative implications were not evident until years later. Today, scientists and biologists have discovered many of these projects had tremendous impacts on flora and fauna that reside in the Everglades ecosystem. For alligators in particular, drainage projects forced fish and other animals to relocate, making it difficult to find food. Land conversion and drainage are mostly to blame for the declining health of the Everglades, but there are other variables as well. Climate change, including rainfall, increased sea-levels and higher temperatures contribute as well

At one time, the Everglades ecosystem covered 11 million acres. Through the years, land conversion and drainage projects impacted the wetlands, vastly decreasing its size to slightly over 2 million acres. Today, there are still a wide range of man-made and natural threats to the health of the Everglades. Fires, hurricanes, floods, even droughts contribute to damage along with pollution, land development and the ongoing effort to reduce coastal flooding. Heightened awareness about the Everglades's health is important as even slight changes to the area impact not only Florida residents, but also thousands of animals who rely on the Everglades for survival.

What Is Being Done

It didn’t take long for environmentalists to realize that countless numbers of plants and animals depend on the Everglades to breed, hunt and survive. In 2000, in an effort to protect and restore the area, Congress passed the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). To date, the CERP is the largest ecosystem restoration project in the United States. It’s projected to take over three decades to complete, but the objective of the project is vital - to improve, protect and restore the state’s biggest natural asset. Today, a wide range of advocates, both public and private, support the Everglades preservation and conservation effort.

A Family Fun Destination - Educational and Entertaining

Today, folks visit the Everglades for all kinds of reasons. Some enjoy the peacefulness of the environment and the opportunity it gives them to relax and commune with wildlife in a wondrous setting. Others use it for artistic inspiration, drawing on thousands of iconic images like wading birds and unique topography. Families delight in exploring the wetlands by while an experienced guide points out alligators and other equally impressive Everglades wildlife. The Everglades is many things to many people and easily one of the most exciting locales in America.For more information on how you can experience the Florida Everglades, visit www.evergladesholidaypark.com. With narrated airboat rides, exciting live gator shows and the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue, Everglades Holiday Park is a must see for adventurous families, educators and anyone looking for a day of fun in the Florida sunshine. This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .

Lacking Creativity? Three Ways to Explore Your Inner Artist

 Finding time to relax and break from the complexities of life can be challenging. With hectic work schedules, pressing family responsibilities and a list of personal to-do’s that would put Cinderella to shame, it’s next to impossible to unwind. The good news is, you’re not alone if you struggle with leisure time and you're in need of a few strategies for R&R. With relaxation in mind, here are three ways to get creative and explore your inner artist.

No. 1: Grab Your Cell Phone Camera and Head Out

These days, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take incredible pictures. Almost everyone in America has a smart phone, and for good reason - they do pretty much everything. Grab yours and hit the town - when inspiration calls, you’ll be ready. Take a bus ride or walk the streets in search of something unique and creative to capture on film. You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities there are to see art in ordinary things (who can forget the brown paper bag in American Beauty). If you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, take a stroll seaside with a cup of coffee to capture an early morning sunrise. The possibilities are endless when you use your imagination, and focusing on a few captivating images is a sure way to let go of tension and anxiety.

No. 2: Put Your Creativity and Imagination to Work with Paint

Remember finger painting as a kid? If you can see it in your head, chances are you can create it on paper, or in this case, canvas. Most local craft stores sell a starter kit for beginners complete with a few brushes, some paint, even the palette if you’re looking to get serious. If you’re lacking for ideas, pack a few snacks and tote your belongings to a park or grassy area where you can sit comfortably for an hour or so to stir the creative juices. In no time at all, brushes will be flying and your inner Picasso will be going strong.

No. 3: Do Something You Never Thought You’d Do

Are you tired of hearing stories about people who do exciting things like go skydiving or take flying lessons? Maybe it’s time to put yourself out there with a creative experience you never thought you’d do. Take a cooking class or sign up for beginner’s karate. Live in Florida? Take advantage of the warm climate, or the snow if you’re up north, and participate in some outdoor fun for renewing and revitalizing your body and mind. Stepping outside the box every now and then to restore lost energy and enthusiasm is a smart, practical and healthy lifestyle choice. When it’s time to refresh and rejuvenate from the inside out, tap into your inner creativity to expose a happier, healthier and more productive you. When in Florida, be sure to check out Everglades Holiday Park for narrated airboat tours, live gator shows and an Everglades experience the whole family will treasure. A family favorite destination in Fort Lauderdale, Everglades Holiday Park is home to the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue. Visit us today! This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .

Top 3 Florida Everglades Activities

Exploring the Florida Everglades

Exploring the Florida Everglades

One of the greatest biological wonders of the world, the Florida Everglades is home to an extraordinary collection of plants and animals, many on the federal threatened or endangered list. With turtles, tropical snakes, colorful wading birds and of course, the American alligator, the Everglades are brimming with excitement, inspiration and fun. If you’re considering a trip to South Florida, here are the top three activities that locals and tourists enjoy while visiting the expansive wetlands.

Bird Watching

The Florida Everglades is home to 300 different species of birds! Whether you’re viewing the “River of Grass” on foot, by jon boat or perched high on the seat of an airboat, it’s nearly impossible not to see a few magnificent sights. Long-legged wading birds like the great egret, white ibis, pelican, and great blue heron can be seen virtually anywhere throughout the Glades, making it easy to capture these spectacular creatures on film. The purple gallinule is delightful to experience in person and has been known to land on the shoulders of anyone willing. A vast collection of different birds frequent the wetlands in the morning, making it possible to see a variety of exotic species in one single day.

Wildlife Viewing in the Florida Everglades

Alligators, snakes and other freshwater wildlife are amazing to view in person, and exactly what you’ll see on a day trip through the Everglades. Wildlife viewing in this pristine environment is extraordinary because it’s one of few locales where it’s possible to observe animals in their natural habitat - untouched and complete with rookeries, nesting grounds and denning areas. Unlike at the zoo where the living area is often man-made and artificial, the Everglades is completely authentic. And the best part? There are no scripts to follow so each and every time you visit the Florida Everglades, you’re guaranteed to see something completely unique.

Airboat Tours and Gator Shows

Ready to unleash your wild side? Nothing compares to zipping across the Florida Everglades on a state-of-the-art airboat. Narrated tours are loads of fun and ideal for families with small children looking for educational activities. With an expert tour guide to lead the way, there’s no question you’ll see and hear secrets of the Glades from an experienced local. Tours vary in length, but typically are long enough to explore, educate and entertain. For an extra special treat, Everglades Holiday Park offers a complementary live alligator presentation with every airboat ride. Shows are family friendly and captivating, starring the Gator Boys from Animal Planet! In the Florida Everglades, the line between water and land is often blurred. With iconic imagery, extraordinary wildlife and more, the Everglades is South Florida’s most exciting natural attraction. For a thrilling adventure filled with wildlife viewing, a fast boat ride and the chance to meet the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team, visit Everglades Holiday Park where it’s never a dull day in Florida. This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .

Meet the Coolest Reptile: Alligator in South Florida

florida alligator everglades holiday parkReptiles. They’re everywhere. In South Florida, we’re lucky to have one of the coolest - the American alligator. With nearly a million alligators living in the state, this is one resident you’re likely to see if you spend any length of time in the area. What is it about this iconic reptile that we can’t seem to get enough of? With lighting quick reflexes and reputations that precedes them, alligators are pretty extraordinary, but if you’re looking to get a better understanding of them, here are impressive truths about one of the coolest reptiles in South Florida.

Hanging With Dinosaurs?

In Florida, we like to think of our gators as modern day dinosaurs. There’s evidence to support the idea that their closest living relatives roamed the Earth millions of years ago. The Alligator genus entered evolution 37 million years ago, and the species we see living today may date back as far as 14 million years ago! The American alligator has a tongue twisting scientific name - Alligator Mississippiensis - and is one of about twenty-five crocodilians in the world. These include those found in China along with fifteen or so tropical crocodiles and a few alligator-like caimans. How many exist in the world? Scientists are unsure, but in Florida alone, biologists estimate there are close to one million and another 4 million in the southeastern United States region.

A Species Misunderstood?

Like it or not, life in Florida involves alligators. Luckily, most long-term residents understand the important role alligators play in not only the state’s heritage, but also, in maintaining the health of our wetlands. There’s no question, Floridians must share their state with this incredible reptile, but the key to peaceful existence is knowledge. Did you know it’s illegal to feed an alligator, or that they can climb? Startling for sure, but facts indeed. In truth, most gators don’t become a problem unless provoked or threatened, but a little knowledge goes a long way in keeping you safe. As the human population continues to grow and more people choose to make the sunshine state home, the key to avoiding conflict with one of the oldest reptiles on Earth is understanding where they live, how they behave and how to coexist peacefully.

Ready to Come Face to Face With Alligators in the Everglades?

If you’re considering introducing yourself to Florida’s most popular reptile, there’s no better place to do it than in the Florida Everglades. Everglades Holiday Park provides tours, gator shows, animal encounters and more! There’s only one Everglades, and only one way to see it!This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .

Exploring the Everglades – Wading Birds In Decline?

Everglades Wading Birds Photo credit: Mac Stone

Last week, the South Florida Water Management District released its annual South Florida Wading Bird Report, and while bird populations in the Glades rise and fall traditionally, this year, the results don’t look good. Repairing the health of the ecosystem is a long-term priority of restoration projects, but in light of these numbers, the effort is more important than ever. The good news is that populations can rebound and that’s great news not only for wildlife enthusiasts, but also the hundreds of exotic birds who call the Everglades home.

Nests Down 28 Percent From Last Year

Scientists at Audubon Florida report that wading bird nesting fell 28 percent over last year, with blue Herons and snowy egrets being hit especially hard. Bird populations help to gauge the overall health of the Everglades and a decline highlights the need to step up the restoration effort. Nesting is core to survival, but there are a variety of challenges making it difficult to nest and fish. Biologists blame last winter's above average rain for the recent decline in wading bird populations. As increased rainfall brings more fish to the area, it becomes more difficult for birds to compete for smaller prey.

Restoration Efforts Are Helping Everglades Wading Birds Rebound

Despite steep declines, current Everglades restoration efforts are having a positive impact, especially in areas where there is inadequate foraging habitat. Just this past week, the Everglades Birding Festival brought wildlife enthusiasts together to see exotic birds that can only be found here in the Everglades, like the snail kite and purple goose hen. The unique South Florida environment is one of the best places in the world to get up close and personal with some of these unforgettable birds.

Exploring the Everglades Is Always a Treat

For bird enthusiasts, winter is by far the best time to visit the Everglades as birds are more active than ever, nesting and finding fish to feed their young. Take a tour through the River of Grass in the early part of the day and the ecosystem comes alive with a wide range of long-legged wading birds and impressive imagery. Not all Everglades wading birds are in decline. In fact, the wood stork - a threatened species - made a surprising comeback with higher than expected numbers this year. For information on how to schedule a private tour through the Everglades or to learn more about our family friendly adventures, visit us at www.evergladesholidaypark.com. This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .