GATOR BEACH WELCOMES STUDENTS
TO A WILD ENVIRONMENT
“You’d never believe how well the children listen after being threatened to swim with alligators” observed Gator Handler Nick Nicastro.
It goes without saying that a Field trip at Gator Beach is not your ordinary learning experience.
In the fall of 2004, Fudpucker’s and Gator Beach initiated a new program to serve as an educational resource center for wildlife, with an obvious emphasis on alligators. The employees and management of Gator Beach worked together to develop an entertaining and educational field trip program for school aged children. In fact, during the 2004-2005 school year, Gator Beach hosted over 25 field trips and expect to host at least that many again this year.
Area students who attend the Gator Beach field trip learn about alligators and snakes and what to do if they come in contact with these magnificent reptiles in the wild. The children are actually able to experience up-close encounters with live alligators. In fact, the brave students even get to pet a live gator (whose mouth is securely taped shut).
Students learn about the physical characteristics of the animals and how each characteristic helps the alligator survive. “I didn’t know alligators had ears until I went to Gator Beach” said 7 year old Tristan Ferrara.
Students also embarked on a very informative tour of Gator Beach’s wildlife exhibits which include an alligator nesting scene, an underwater habitat, an exhibit featuring life-like replicas of Florida’s venomous snakes, an aquarium with a rare living “yellow” alligator, and an artificial wetland pond housing 100 live alligators.
“The coolest part of the field trip was when I got to feed the alligators” exclaimed Jace Parker, 2nd grader from Antioch Elementary.
Who says a Turtle and an Aligator can't be friends!
While feeding the alligators at Gator Beach the children are able to learn first hand how an alligator can thrust itself out of the water in order to obtain food. The children can also take part in an interactive gator show where one (un)lucky student from the crowd is chosen to assist a Gator Handler with a very special part of the presentation down in the pond.
Gator Handler, Cassey has participated in many field trips for the local schools and now leads the charge to teach area children. Cassey took over as Manager of Gator Beach in September 2005, but she is no stranger to Fudpucker’s; for many years she has served as a facilities manager. Coincidentally, what many people do not know is that Cassey was also one of the first gator handlers when Gator Beach opened in 2002. “All in all, Cassey has more experience with alligators than anyone at this establishment,” notes Fudpucker’s Marketing Director, David Smith.
To schedule a field trip, call Cassey at (850) 837-4781 or email us at Cassey@fudpucker.com. And don’t worry; she doesn’t really throw the kids in the pond.