This coming weekend the annual Alligator Hatching Festival starts its two-week run, while some enthusiasts got a sneak preview this past weekend (they ran out of available eggs Saturday, Aug. 10, so there was that one early hatching day so far). And Wild at Heart wildlife center had its second opening day the same day.
Those are the highlights for our second installment of this column. Check lakeokeechobeenews.com for more from the wildlife parks. There are local fundraisers taking place (see below) plus … photos from the gator egg collection process. (See Page 9 and look for more online.)
• PALMDALE — Gatorama is hosting its 16th annual Alligator Hatching Festival daily Aug. 17-Sept. 2 at the animal park at 10665 U.S. 27, Palmdale. Annually, they celebrate the arrival of chirping and snapping baby gators into the world!
During these next few weeks, thousands of alligators will be hatched at the park. “Guests will be able to see and feel these little baby alligators wiggle out of the eggs,” said Gatorama owner Allen Register.
Visitors to Gatorama will also learn about the history of the American alligator and how the formerly endangered species has been protected through one of the most successful, sustainable-use management programs ever implemented. Alligator farming is an important part of it.
The park has been much improved with exhibits added and parts rebuilt since Hurricane Irma did major damage. The gift shop has been upgraded, and food and beverage offerings have been enhanced as well.
For more information, prices and directions as well as to book your reservations, gatorama.com or hatchingfestival.com. To hatch your own gator egg, you will need a reservation because there is only a limited number. Regular admission includes the educational hatching programs.
• GLADES COUNTY — Wild at Heart wildlife park’s second public opening day was Aug. 10 and, although the owners said early turnout was good, the heavy rains cut the day a bit short. They will have another public opening day within several weeks.
Also, another hearing is upcoming in the civil case seeking their eviction by nullifying their 99-year lease on the property at 5001 S.W. Rucks Dairy Road, Okeechobee 34974 (unincorporated Glades County). The case was continued on Aug. 10 by plaintiff’s motion, but now Wild at Heart’s attorney has filed for summary dismissal of the lawsuit in the 20th Judicial Circuit Glades County Court, and a hearing is set on that motion in early September.
We welcome contributions from other nearby counties, including Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Lee, Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie.
Send any news items for this occasional Wildlife Park Roundup column to firstname.lastname@example.org.