Review: Croc Encounters – Reptile Park and Wildlife Center (Tampa, Florida)
Croc Encounters is a non-profit conservation and educational facility that provides a sanctuary to unwanted reptiles. On a Saturday morning, we drove 25-minutes from home to enjoy some time with the reptile world. It was a self-guided tour where we were given some turtle food and the opportunity to take a picture with a 3-ft to 4-ft baby gator.
8703 Bowles Rd
$5.00 pp. – Sneak Peek Saturdays (Self-Guided)
$45.00 pp. – Guided Tours
This Day’s Staff:
John and Karina – Founders of Croc Encounters
Cody – Volunteer & Nuisance Alligator Trapper
Review: Croc Encounters – Reptile Park and Wildlife Center
At the entrance.
Volunteer and Gatorman Cody greeted us. He had been busy hosing down the facility from the night’s heavy rain. They did a great job! Ask Cody to tell some stories about wrangling nuisance alligators for Hillsborough County. He has some crazy stories.
Off to feed the turtles. It’s always a pleasure feeding animals!
Afterwards, we couldn’t find anywhere to dispose of the paper cup they gave us so we crushed them and kept them in our pockets.
Now, time to observe the ultimate survivors and living dinosaurs who’ve "…been around for more than 180 million years!"
Looking at this guy, I wondered: How did s/he loose that tooth? How many teeth do they have? How old is s/he? What’s the oldest known croc and/or gator?
Here’s a young one and look at his teeth… translucent and so white!
Check out the gallery below for more photos of our visit. We end the visit with this photo-op:
There was a lack of information kiosks you kinda expect from a visit to a wildlife sanctuary or zoo. It’d be nice to know the species of reptile wildlife we were looking at; maybe the backstory of how the animal came to be at the park (i.e. rescued as a pet, wrangled as a nuisance gator, etc.); factoids about them like zoos have. Maybe they save all the information for their guided tours and want you to simply ask your questions to them directly??? But the good thing about the missing kiosks is that it forces you to talk to the volunteers who really have the best stories -And- the visit felt like you were at someone’s personal ranch that so happened to take care of reptiles. They are a family-operated facility and it’s nice to support them. They don’t get paid to help the community when they’re called to trap or catch a gator. John still ‘works’ elsewhere and then cares for these animals as much as possible to keep Croc Encounters going. If you love reptiles and live close-by, learn about volunteering there. Maybe one day you can wrangle a gator!
Complete Photo Gallery
QUESTION: Where’s your favorite wildlife center?