Fire burns Gatorland; 2 snakes, 2 crocs likely killed
POSTED: 1:40 p.m. EST, November 6, 2006
ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- A fire early Monday destroyed a section of the venerable Gatorland tourist attraction, likely killing four animals. Among the charred areas was its main entrance, a huge concrete alligator mouth.
The blaze, reported at 5:55 a.m., badly damaged the gift shop, entrance and ticket booth.
Gatorland's alligators were believed to have hidden safely in a lake, but the fire may have claimed two crocodiles and two 8-foot pythons kept in a pen near the gift shop, said Tim Williams, the park's director of media production.
The park opened in 1949 and attracts about 400,000 tourists each year. It features people wrestling gators, a "jumparoo" show where the big reptiles leap for food, and up-close encounters where guests can hold snakes, scorpions, spiders and birds. In all, Gatorland has a few thousand animals, Williams estimated.
"This park is like an old alligator. Gators fight, they get scarred up, they get beat up, they tear each other up, but they're resilient," Williams said. "This park's been here for 57 years. We're not going anywhere."
The giant concrete gator head that serves as the main entrance was charred, its formerly white teeth blackened with soot, its mouth full of debris. The mural facade around it, which had just been given a fresh coat of paint in a $1.5 million overhaul, was torn and burned.
Fire crews were still extinguishing the smoldering three-alarm blaze late Monday morning, but park officials said they hoped to be back in operation as quickly as possible.
Williams said it would be months before everything was back to normal. The park was working on plans to get guests back in. The shows could still be
staged, he said.
Was gator aid preformed or not!
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Thread: Gatorland burns!
11-06-2006, 03:52 PM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
Last edited by coldfront; 11-06-2006 at 03:59 PM.Always a day late and a dollar short!
11-08-2006, 02:55 PM #2
- Join Date
- Apr 2003
- Missouri and Colorado but from the East Coast!
I think I would send the Rookie in on that one, "I will pump the truck! No realy its all yours"
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