Last Updated on July 16, 2023
What at first may sound like a hokey roadside attraction, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is actually a distinguished research and conservation institute. It’s the only facility in the world to publicly display every species of alligator and crocodilian from around the globe.
The Alligator Farm’s captive breeding efforts are world renowned and essential to sustaining critically endangered populations.
Think of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm as more San Diego Zoo then old-Florida, gravel parking lot, sunburned crackers in cut-off jean shorts throwing dead chickens to snapping alligators in front of clueless Midwesterners.
Alligator Farm in St. Augustine
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park – its formal name – has earned membership in the prestigious Association of Zoos & Aquariums, of which there are fewer than 250 in the United States. AZA accreditation occurs only after a thorough review process carefully inspecting each applicant’s treatment of animals from housing to socialization, diet, veterinary care and a variety of other measurements.
Every animal at AZA-accredited institutions undergoes a thorough welfare assessment at least once a year.
AZA inspectors also examine guest and staff policies and procedures at each institution. Before visiting any zoo or aquarium, visit its website to learn if it is a member of this prestigious organization. The Alligator Farm has been a member since 1989.
A tourist attraction, yes, but think of it equally as a scientific institution. And a conservation resource. It also participates in the AZA’s Species Survival Plan Programs working to manage genetically diverse, demographically varied and biologically sound populations of endangered species which, due to human encroachment and interference, often can’t sustain healthy populations in the wild.
That all takes place behind the scenes. What you’ll see on your visit to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine is HUNDREDS of alligators!
Big ones! 15-feet! And albino alligators!
And crocodiles! Strange ones! From all over the world!
Don’t worry, visitors are in no danger. Even in the wild, unless harassed, alligators are of no danger to humans. Children and strollers are welcome at the Farm, but not pets, except for service dogs.
What to do at the Alligator Farm
Founded in 1893 as the South Beach Alligator Farm and Burning Springs Museum, the park moved to its current location in 1920. Throughout the years, it has steadily increased the number and variety of activities and programs available to visitors.
The Crocodile Crossing zipline allows guests to zoom through the park’s tree canopy and safely over top of lazing alligators. Participants must be 8-years-old to take the ride and anyone under 18 needs to be accompanied by a responsible adult.
A wide variety of daily wildlife shows can be enjoyed at the park, many of which are hands-on, allowing guests to touch the animals. The most popular event, of course, are the alligator feedings which take place at noon and 3 PM.
Behind the scenes tours are available as well.
There is a full-service snack bar. Do not bring food from outside into the park and if you bring water, do not bring it in containers with plastic lids or straws for the safety of our animals.
Guests are welcome to feed the animals, but ONLY food provided by on-site vending machines. All of the animals under the park’s care are on special diets, and outside food can cause medical issues.
Remember your care as well. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm is outdoors. It can be SCORCHINGLY hot! Reptiles love that, people, not so much. There are shaded areas and indoor habitats with air conditioning, but dress for the weather; wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Other Wildlife at the Park
The Alligator Farm in St. Augustine houses hundreds of animals aside from its namesake. You’ll see numerous turtle and tortoise species including the giant Galapagos tortoise. Dozens of snake species found across Florida and around the world are on view from rattlesnakes to cottonmouths, vipers, cobras and pythons.
Lizards from across the globe including Komodo dragons. Frogs. Lemurs – yes, lemurs. Gigantic birds from Asia and Africa standing 5-feet-tall. Sloths.
Alligator Farm Rookery
Between February and June, reaching its peak in late April and early May, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm transforms into a major rookery for Florida native wading birds. Egrets, herons, wood storks and roseate spoonbills – often confused for flamingos – by the hundreds take advantage of the tree canopy at the park to nest, lay eggs and raise their young.
You’ve never seen or heard anything like it!
A cacophony of screeching chicks calling out to parents fills the park. Fantastically colored birds roosting mere feet from the park’s boardwalk give visitors the opportunity of a lifetime to see these wonderful animals up close.
With your smartphone, you’ll be able to capture stunning photos you’d expect from a professional photographer in the wild with a $1,000 zoom lens.
You may wonder why birds would roost over so many alligators? While it’s true that chicks do fall from their nests and are eaten by the alligators below, those casualties are far fewer than would be experienced from raccoons or bobcats raiding their nests for eggs and young if the nests were protected, albeit unknowingly, by the gators!
You won’t find a more extraordinary wildlife encounter in Florida from the comfortable confines of a park. I promise you visiting the St. Augustine Alligator Farm rookery during peak season will provide a cherished memory for years to come.
Alligator Farm Jacksonville, Florida
St. Augustine Alligator Farm Hours
The Alligator Farm is open every day from 9 am-5 pm. That’s every single day! Looking for something to do on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s when everything else is closed? Here you go! Of course, there’s plenty else to do in St. Augustine, one of Florida’s top visitor destinations.
The park has extended hours during summer months – Memorial Day through Labor Day – welcoming visitors from 9 am-6 pm.
The address is 999 Anastasia Blvd, St. Augustine, FL 32080-4619.
Free parking is available on site and you can see the black-and-white striped St. Augustine Lighthouse across the street.
Alligator Farm in St. Augustine discount tickets
In line with premiere attractions and to provide the considerable financial support required for the care of animals and professional staffing, tickets to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm aren’t cheap.
General admission tickets are $34.99 (ages 12+), $19.99 (ages 3-11), and free for children under the age of 3. Tickets for guests in wheelchairs are $15.00 (adults) and $9.50 (children.) St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoo Members receive free admission.
Advance reservations are not required, and tickets can be purchased on site. When purchasing online before your visit, you’ll save $1 per ticket.
The Alligator Farm offers 10% off tickets for AAA, military and senior citizens.
That can add up to a major expense, but in addition your experience at the park, remember, your purchase supports the care of these magnificent animals, the park’s conservation mission and its efforts toward the continued survival of these species in the wild.