Ashley Lawrence of the Gator BoysAt 4 foot 11 inches, Ashley Lawrence is no lightweight. A regular on the hit Animal Planet series “The Gator Boys,” this is one little lady who brings new meaning to the term “girl power.” What is it about Ashley that we love so much and why is she one of our favorites at Everglades Holiday Park? If you haven’t had the chance to see Ashley in person, and you’ll be in the Fort Lauderdale area, this is what you can expect from this super cool Gator Girl.
Keeping Up With the Boys…And Then Some“Gator handler” isn’t a career most people gravitate towards, but trapping alligators – and doing it right involves far more than brute force. It takes skills and expertise that take years to develop. Ashley Lawrence may be small, but don’t let her size fool you because she can keep up with boys just fine. A career that began with lions and tigers set the scene for working with men three times her size on The Gator Boys. At Everglades Holiday Park, Ashley has to bring it to be respected – and does she ever. Capturing wild alligators with your bare hands isn’t a job to take casually, but to Ashley, it’s just another day at the office. She also brings something to the table that fans lucky enough to see her live rarely miss – a passion for all things wild. A true conservationist, Ashley’s genuine love for all wildlife is inspirational.
A Mission With a Purpose: The Gator Boys Alligator Rescue at Everglades Holiday ParkIn South Florida, scores of hunters trap alligators for profit while the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team works to save as many nuisance gators as possible. The Rescue, which is headquartered at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, provides a safe haven for rescued gators. As a complementary add-on to airboat tours at the park, Ashley Lawrence and the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team perform live alligator shows for guests, entertaining and educating about the ‘Glades most famous resident. Families delight in watching Ashley perform stunts like the “Bulldog” and “Face-off” - dangerous tricks that leave crowds of all ages awestruck. While highlighting animal rights and conservation is the primary goal of the Gator Boys show, Ashley Lawrence believes she can use her celebrity to set an example for strong women everywhere. To her, strength is something that comes from within, and that’s true whether you wrestle gators, teach kindergarten children or work as a short order cook. According to Ashley, women have been taking on non-traditional roles for years, and that’s cause to celebrate. This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .
Florida Everglades, known internationally for its stunning collection of extraordinary plants and wildlife. Unfortunately, over the years, degradation of habitat has caused a number of species in the area to decline. From the Florida Panther and the American alligator to over 350 bird species, the Everglades offers outdoor enthusiasts a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet incredible Everglades wildlife. The magical side of South Florida deserves our attention, and the more we know, the more likely it will be that these incredible animals can continue to call the Everglades home.
Endangered Versus Threatened: Understanding Classification of Everglades WildlifeThe Endangered Species Act (ESA) was created in 1973 to conserve and set up recovery plans for species and habitats on the federal lists. However, animals must be on both lists (threatened and endangered) before the ESA will step in to provide protection. What is the difference between endangered and threatened? Basically, a species is classified as endangered if it is in immediate danger of extinction unless something is done to protect its habitat. Threatened species are those that are likely to become endangered in the near future if steps are not taken to mitigate risk. In 2015, the National Park Service states there are 23 animal species in the Everglades on both lists – federally endangered and threatened. However, there are over 60 on just the threatened list. The Florida panther, American alligator, West Indian manatee, wood stork and snail kite are just a few animals in the area that are currently receiving some form of protection at the state and federal level.
Threatened Everglades Wildlife May Become Endangered Without Protection
The American AlligatorThe American alligator in South Florida is iconic. Aside from great notoriety, few people in the state realize that the alligator is classified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened, and is likely to become endangered if we fail to protect its habitat. Alligators thrive in the fresh water marshes of the Everglades and play a critical role in helping sustain the ecosystem. The state has adopted a few managed control programs, and it’s illegal to take an alligator without a permit and proper license. Nevertheless, up to a third of all alligator nests are destroyed.
Sea TurtleThe Sea Turtle is one of the oldest creatures on Earth. Despite catastrophic change, sea turtles have stayed pretty much the same for millions of years. On the Federal endangered list since 1978, sea turtles in South Florida depend on the unique marine and estuarine habitat of the Everglades for survival. Pollution and illegal harvesting for eggs play roles in declining populations, even as local government, non-profit groups and community members work to raise awareness through habitat reconstruction efforts.
BirdsThe Everglades are literally brimming with incredible birds. In fact, there are over 350 different species alone. But many are threatened and endangered, including the snail kite, woodstork, woodpecker and bald eagle. As water levels fluctuate in water conservation areas, nesting efforts fail. Inadequate nesting leads to poor reproduction and reduced numbers of juveniles.
The Florida PantherThe Florida panther relies on the Everglades for survival, yet habitat degradation is the key reason for its declining health. Currently, there are an estimated 70-100 panthers living in the Everglades, making them one of the most endangered animals in the world.
ManateeAnother iconic endangered species, manatee can’t survive in water temperature below 63 degrees and often migrate towards warmer spring-fed rivers during winter months.
Appreciating the Florida Everglades: Visiting with Everglades WildlifeOriginally, the greater Everglades ecosystem had a large diversity of habitats, but human population growth, land development and drainage programs significantly impacted the wetlands. Today, while there are many contributing factors to the decline in Everglades wildlife, there are just as many informed, motivated and resourceful people ready to help. Exploring this natural, pristine environment is a once in a lifetime experience, and the perfect tribute to the animals who reside there. Visiting Everglades Holiday Park is a great way to expose the kids to the importance of conservation and preservation and an exciting family adventure they’ll remember forever. This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .
Hold a Baby Alligator, Snake, Skunk or Lemur and Have Your Picture TakenWatching animals from behind a cage can be fun, but the experience is even more exciting when you can actually hold them. At Everglades Holiday Park, you can have your picture taken holding a baby alligator, boa, lemur, skunk and more! Feel the texture of a real live alligator as you pose for the camera, and you’ll never look at Florida’s most iconic resident the same again. Don’t worry, there’s nothing dangerous here – the crew and team at Everglades Holiday Park are professionals, and the animals thrive on attention. Kids can’t get enough of the critters at Everglades Holiday Park. Even the little ones enjoy the gators up close and personal, and boy, do they grin from ear to ear!
Take an Exciting Airboat Ride Through the River of GrassEncountering animals in the Everglades is always an adventure, and an hour-long airboat ride is the best way to get out there to experience the wetlands. Of course, you can’t hold all of the alligators in the Everglades, but you sure can see some extraordinary sights on a narrated tour. Captains at Everglades Holiday Park grew up in the Everglades and know exactly where to take the boats to see the most spectacular sights. In cool weather, wildlife is most active, and thrill-seeking families enjoy watching turtles, snakes and all kinds of tropical birds going about their business in the Everglades.
Meet the Gator Boys From Animal Planet’s Hit ShowAfter your airboat tour concludes, you’ll be taken back to the park where you’ll enjoy a complementary live alligator presentation featuring the Gator Boys from Animal Planet. These guys and gals know their stuff, and delight crowds with entertaining facts, funny jokes and a few daring tricks. Alligators used in the show were rescued from backyards, swimming pools and other residential areas throughout South Florida, and the Gator Boys are proud to feature some of their favorites. Presentations are family-friendly, providing a great way to expose the kids to important concepts like preservation, conservation and the larger Everglades ecosystem.Why stand around at the zoo when the Everglades puts you face to face with the most exciting wildlife Florida has to offer? When you’re ready to hold a baby alligator, there’s no place like Everglades Holiday Park for exciting airboat rides, alligator presentations and adrenaline charged fun with the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team.For more information, please visit www.evergladesholidaypark.com to learn how you can make reservations for good old fashioned fun with the animals of the Everglades! This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .
Everglades Wildlife – Unparalleled BeautyThe Everglades is the place to be when you want to lock eyes with an American alligator, but it’s also one of the most serene environments on the planet for relaxing to the sounds of nature. With so many different species, it’s impossible to see everything in one day, and folks come back time and time again for a completely new adventure. The area is well known for it’s incredible display of wading birds including the iconic roseate spoonbill, egret, heron and woodstork to name a few. If you’re more of a reptile fan, the ‘Glades is also home to both alligators and crocodiles, with the former populating fresh water channels and wet prairies where they nest and raise their young. With 27 different types of snakes, it’s very likely you’ll witness a few slither past on your expedition.
A Pristine, Natural HabitatThe Everglades is a 2 million acre wetland ecosystem dominated by sawgrass marsh. River of Grass, as its called, is stunning in person, and the perfect backdrop for fishing, exploring or just plain relaxing. A pristine natural habitat for thousands of animals, the Everglades was once much larger, but agricultural and urban development have altered the landscape. Nevertheless, much of the wetlands today are under protection, allowing future generations of wildlife and humans to enjoy the ecosystem. The Everglades provide countless services to residents in South Florida, and in addition to its rich natural habitat, it’s an invaluable resource. With miles of wide-open grasslands to explore, an airboat is the perfect vehicle for journeying through the Everglades. Take a guided tour and in about an hour, you can expect to see Everglades wildlife around every corner. With alligators, snakes, gigantic turtles and over 350 different species of birds, the Everglades are stunning. Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale offers exciting narrated rides, animal encounters and the only live alligator presentation in South Florida performed by the one and only Gator Boys from Animal Planet. With so much to experience, sightseeing in the Everglades is a popular pastime. As one of the largest untouched natural wildlife habitats in the world, the Everglades is pretty special – and easily one of the most magical places on Earth. This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .
Looking for Things to Do in Florida With the Kids?Whether you’re looking for an educational activity, an outdoor thrill or just something a little off the beaten path, the Florida Everglades delivers. With incredible sights and sounds, America’s wetland is a must see in South Florida. The best family-friendly adventure begins at Everglades Holiday Park where you’ll find plenty of fun things to do with kids of all ages. With fast boat rides, live alligator shows and the famous Gator Boys, this is one destination that’s sure to delight in Fort Lauderdale. Ready to learn more? Here’s a glimpse into a day of adventure at the park.
Journey Through the River of Grass on an AirboatThe Everglades is called the “River of Grass” because of its unique appearance. It’s a fantastic tropical wetland that stretches for miles, characterized by sawgrass marshes, cypress swamps and some of the most unusual vegetation in South Florida. Everglades Holiday Park gives adventurous families the chance to explore this incredible ecosystem from the seat of a covered airboat – and boy is it a thrill. Boats glide through the ‘Glades at top speeds, piloted by skilled captains who explore the murky water in search of alligators, snakes, turtles and tropical wading birds. Each ride is unique and the wildlife is unpredictable, which is exactly why an airboat ride through the Everglades tops the list of fun things to do with kids in Fort Lauderdale.
Wow Them With a Live Alligator ShowAfter an hour-long guided tour, guests are returned to the docks where they join the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue team in the world famous “Gator Pit” for an exciting live alligator presentation. Shows are family friendly of course, and filled with tricks, stunts and educational information about the Everglades ecosystem and it’s most popular resident, the American alligator. Many of the gators used in the show are rescue gators, saved from neighborhood pools, backyards and residential areas in South Florida. The team works hard to provide a safe haven for nuisance gators, and Everglades Holiday Park is the perfect sanctuary.
Fun Things to Do With Kids In Fort Lauderdale: Hold Everglades WildlifeKids delight in coming face to face with unusual Everglades wildlife and at Everglades Holiday Park, that’s exactly what they can do. The latest added feature at the park, Animal Encounters, gives everyone a chance to hold some of the Everglades most interesting critters. Planning fun things to do with kids in Fort Lauderdale has never been easier when it involves holding a Carpet Python, Ring-tailed Lemur or Umbrella Cockatoo. And of course, everyone wants to hold a baby alligator! Snap a picture for the scrapbook - and also for show and tell - and watch their faces beam! Parents looking for fun things to do with kids in Fort Lauderdale are never disappointed with a visit to Everglades Holiday Park. South Florida’s premier family destination, a day at the park is filled with thrills, wildlife and education – and that’s always a good time.Haul in Some Largemouth BassAt Everglades Holiday Park, you can become the captain of the ship and take your family cruising around the enchanting waters of the ‘Glades. We offer fishing boat rentals, so you and your kids can adventure into the heart of the Everglades, soaking in nature and doing your best to reel in a couple big ones. Because of its unique ecology, the Everglades is home to some of the best largemouth bass fishing in the world. Anglers from all over the globe head to Everglades Holiday Park to have their hand in the surrounding waters. If you find yourself in the area, take advantage of the enrapturing waters of the Everglades and rent a boat! Your kids will thank you, even if you don’t end up catching any bass. After all, they’ll be out in the sun and on the water – that’s all that matters.Just being on the water in the Everglades and taking a couple of minutes to soak up the view around you can teach your kids about wildlife. Beyond simply enjoying a pleasant experience, your time at Everglades Holiday Park will also be educational.You’re more than welcome to bring your own fishing gear to Everglades Holiday Park, but if you don’t want to bring it with you on your vacation, forgot it at home or simply didn’t plan ahead, that’s not a problem at all. We offer a full catalog of rental fishing gear, and we have what you need to enjoy a day on the water. From fishing equipment to beer, ice, food and bait, we have the perfect recipe for relaxation.Contact us today if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you the next time you’re in South Florida!
BUY DISCOUNT TICKETS NOW
HOURS OF OPERATION7 Days a Week: We open at 9AM (rain or shine)
- Tours are 60 minutes in length, departing every 20 minutes.
- Last boat (with gator show before tour) departs at 4:10PM
- Last boat (without gator show) departs at 4:30PM
*All tickets include an exciting airboat tour & educational gator show after your tour
This entry was posted in Everglades Holiday Park Blog on .