Alligators and Snakes Campground - The Florida Skunk-Ape
by The Perkins
Entrance to Attraction
We visited this attraction in August 2008.
While visiting the Big Cypress National Preserve, we passed by this outrageously named campground! Alligators and Snakes! Sounds like a winner to me!! I was glad we had left the RV at a campground in Ft Lauderdale and had driven to the park.
The little general store attached to the campground was even more interesting, however. It advertised itself as an official research center for Skunk-Ape research. So, of course, we had to stop to figure out what the heck a Skunk-Ape was.
When we stopped, we found out that the Skunk-Ape was the Florida equivalent of a Sashquash or Big Foot. The little general store aka Skunk-Ape gift shop wasn't much to speak of, but there was a back room with a sign that said “wildlife tours, $3 each”. Since our trip to Big Cypress had been mostly in the car, we decided to splurge and see what they had back there. Maybe a Skunk-Ape!
No skunk-ape at the alligators and snakes campground, but, lo and behold, there were....alligators and snakes! When we walked back into the room where the animals were kept, a tour guide popped out of nowhere and gave us a private, in-depth tour that was beyond a doubt worth our $12.
Both Sissy and Bubba (and Ed and me) got to hold a young gator. They are much softer than they look! For some reason, I really liked the guy. No idea why, but the alligator reminded me of my cat, and I wanted to snuggle with him!
There were all sizes of gators, snapping turtles, many different snakes, spiders, and colorful birds. The guide took all the animals (well, not the poisonous ones) out of their cages and let us touch them and hold them. One bird took a liking to me and followed me around, telling me that he loved me.
Outside, there were three 6+ foot gators in a little pond. The tour guide jumped into the pond to get the gators to come out and say hello! The alligators were bigger than he was! But they seemed used to this behavior and made an appearance.
All in all, the Alligators and Snakes campground/Skunk-Ape Research Center was a pleasant surprise. Make sure you visit it while visiting Big Cypress.