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Getting up close personal with animals in Orlando

If you are planning a trip to the Central Florida area for your next family vacation, chances are that you are expecting to get up close and personal with a mouse – Mickey Mouse that is! But, besides all of the loveable characters that your family will encounter on vacation, did you know that there are tons of real, live animals that your family could get up close and personal with during your time in Orlando? From the theme parks to Gatorland, read on about all of the low-cost ways to experience these animal encounters in Central Florida!

Of all the places to get up close and personal with animals, Gatorland may be the best and most unique of them all. This ‘Alligator Capitol of the World’ is home to a wide array of alligators and crocodiles, including Alf, the 15-foot American Crocodile that weighs in at over 1,000 pounds. Other highlights at the Gatorland theme park include Jungle Crocs, which is home to some of the largest and most intimidating crocodiles in all of the world, the Very Merry Aviary, home to friendly Lorikeets (brightly colored parrots native to the Western Pacific and East Indies Area) or the Flamingo Lagoon, which features creatures that are equally as colorful; a small colony of American flamingos. In addition to the previously mentioned attractions, Gatorland also has four shows for guests to see throughout the day, the highlight of which is the Upclose Encounters Show, where you can meet intriguing creatures from all around the globe, including some of the most rare and dangerous snakes alive. Be sure to also keep on the lookout for Gatorland’s animal meet-and-greets throughout the day, where you can interact with some of the cutest animals in the park!

For a more traditional way of getting up close and personal with animals in Orlando, your family can also visit one of four theme parks in the area – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and the trio of Sea World parks, including Sea World Orlando, Discovery Cove and the newly opened water park Aquatica. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, animals are front and center, from the many animal habitats located throughout the park, including hiking and discovery trails where you can come face-to-face with different species of animals, a petting zoo located in Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and the main attraction – the Kilimanjaro Safaris, a trek through 100 acres of re-created African terrain with sightings of giraffes, zebras, rhinos and elephants along the ride!

After your visit to Disney, Sea World gives you another chance to interact with a plethora of animals, from shows that feature killer whales, dolphins, sea lions and otters. Other attractions in the park offer the chance to see penguins, manatees, Clydesdale horses and sharks closer than ever before, or the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feed and touch stingrays and dolphins. And speaking of these gentle creatures, next door at Discovery Cove, guests are able to enjoy dolphin interactions (which includes a swim with a dolphin), snorkeling in a coral reef with tropical fish and stingrays and animal meet-and-greets with small mammals throughout the day in designated locations. And, while a water park may not seem like a conventional place to get up close and personal with animals, this park does have an attraction where guests zoom through a tube in a Commerson’s dolphin habitat, and they also have a wide variety of other animals present as well.

Of course, if you want to see any of these above attractions, you are going to need tickets, and if you purchase your tickets through, you can see them all for less! is your No. 1 online source for discounted tickets to all of the top attractions and theme parks in Orlando, including all of the parks listed above. So while there are many ways to get up close and personal with animals in Central Florida, there is only one way to get your tickets – right here at! 

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