If you live in Florida, or have spent any time here at all, you know that alligators are a fact of life. You find them anywhere you find fresh water–lakes, ponds, canals, water-filled ditches, large puddles (maybe not, maybe). I personally find them cool. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to get up close and personal with them, but over there, they’re fascinating. They’re like living dinosaurs.
Nothing galls me more than a report on the news that tells me some yee-hah found a gi-normous gator that was about fifty years old and all he could think to do with it was to kill it. Happily, there are like-minded folks out and about. The Palm Beach Zoo is having an alligator event on Saturday. If you’re around, you might want to check it out.
The following is copied and pasted from a press release by the Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach.
Alligator Alley Gets Guests Up Close and Personal
at the Palm Beach Zoo
WEST PALM BEACH, FL— At the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society’s Alligator Alley dedication this Saturday, guests are invited to get up close and personal with Fred and Wilma, our American alligators when we open our renovated viewing area. The first in a series of redesigned and reimagined habitats for the current Florida Region exhibit, the new, up close, viewing platform, provides a panoramic view of the lush habitat our alligators call home.
The public is invited to come help dedicate this new exhibit on August 22nd between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Guests can meet and greet two of our juvenile alligators, Cypress and Myakka. Crafts, games and giveaways will be available in our Fountain Plaza and our 10:30 a.m. Storytime will feature, “Three Little Gators” by children’s author, Helen Ketteman.
Fred, the Palm Beach Zoo’s American Alligator drifts by the new Alligator Alley overlook
At 12:00, our dedication will include a ribbon “untying” ceremony with the ribbon to be recycled for future use, in keeping with the Zoo’s sustainability mission and a special Zoo Keeper Talk. Zoo Keepers and selected member guests will provide special enrichment for our alligators.
With hundreds of guests expected, the event will help raise awareness of the plight of these fascinating reptiles threatened by habitat loss and sea level rise. A special preview of the new habitat will be available on Friday night, August 21st from 5 – 9 p.m. for guests attending our popular Safari Night Series – this week’s theme is dinosaurs and alligators.
The Zoo’s just completed renovations include the all new Keeper Talk & Presentation Platform, 360 degree viewing of the Alligator Habitat and an off-exhibit Alligator Holding Area. This project has been made possible by long time donors, Michele & Howard Kessler. Their generous support has helped continue to provide quality care for Fred, our 12.5-foot long male and his mate, 8-foot long Wilma, both born in 1988.
Alligator Alley at the Palm Beach Zoo
“Thanks to the Kessler Family’s generous support, the alligators not only have more room to roam, and a peaceful holding yard when work is being done on their exhibit, and our guests have improved views in and around the exhibit,” said Jan Steele, general curator for the Zoo. “This has enabled us to increase our alligator keeper talks to a daily schedule so our guests can get up close and personal with Fred and Wilma.”
Native to Florida, the American alligator is an example of a species that has recovered thanks to careful management and conservation efforts. By the middle of the 20th century, American alligator populations were severely depleted and in 1967, were listed under the Endangered Species Preservation Act. The Palm Beach Zoo is proud to be a part of this effort and continue to educate and inform people about these magnificent creatures.