We were chatting to our neighbour on one of our first evenings in Orlando and I asked him where he likes to go around here, as a local. He recommended Gatorland. So the next day we hopped in a cab and spent half a day there.
Gatorland left me with mixed feelings. There were big swamps filled with alligators and crocodiles. Great. There were also what seemed like very small enclosures filled with alligators. Not so great. It seemed that some of the 'guest entertainment' was just unfair to the animals. Such as a baby alligator being kept in a tiny glass box just big enough to fit its body and only taken out when posing for photographs with people, or a larger alligator with its mouth taped shut with a big queue of people sitting on it one by one and posing for pictures. We bought a package and this alligator posing was part of it, we did it, it made me feel horrible.
However, places like Gatorland are very important too. We discovered that alligators were listed as an endangered species in 1973, but because of conservation efforts, like those at Gatorland, they were taken off the list in 1987. No one wants to see an amazing species like the alligator die out but I wish animals didn't have to be exploited for our entertainment.