After driving by the park for years, my Dad and I finally stopped in to see if the Alligator Adventure park in North Myrtle Beach is worth the price of admission. Upon entering, we were immediately greeted by dozens of young American alligators in a large pond. They way they were lined up caused my dad to ask if I wanted to try running across them à la James Bond in Live and Let Die. He’s a funny guy! I preferred to heed the posted signage warning visitors to keep their hands and feet outside the enclosures at all times.
Those smallish alligators looked like toys compared to Utan, a behemoth Siamese crocodile said to be the biggest on display in the U.S. I believe it. He was HUGE! Utan is kept in a separate enclosure, presumably so he won’t eat the other alligators. The collection of albino alligators are also kept away from the rest of the reptile population. Their cages are inside a special room where they can be protected from the damaging rays of the sun.
The highlight of any visit to Alligator Adventure is attending one of the live shows where you can watch as skilled handlers feed the massive adult gators pieces of raw chicken. (This is only available April-October as alligators don’t eat during the colder months.) As soon as the dinner bell rang, the well-trained reptiles swam up to the feeding platform and patiently waited for their meal. Not all the animals answered the call as they were already full from an earlier meal and were in a semi-comatose that digestion induces. Watching the hungry ones jump out of the water to catch the fresh meat was unreal. The strength and agility of these creatures explains why they are basically unchanged from the days of the dinosaurs.
But there is more on display here than crocs and gators. Every scary breed of snake, from pythons and boa constrictors to spitting cobras and black mambas, is represented, as are an interesting assortment of turtles, frogs and lizards. The beautiful variety of birds found around the park had me enchanted, until a cheeky parrot tried to bite my camera lens. The park’s collection tigers, bobcats and lemurs were sleeping during our visit so we didn’t see much of them – we’ll just have to go back!
Alligator Adventure Address: 4604 Highway 17, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA Entrance Fee: 17 USD (advance purchase online)