Alligator Adventure is a tourist attraction in Myrtle Beach
, South Carolina
. It is located at Barefoot Landing
on the Highway 17 Bypass. Since it is not a zoo
, and since it is in the middle of a shopping plaza
, I believe it classifies as a grade A tourist attraction
When I was twelve, I was supposed to go there as part of a class fieldtrip, but decided not to at the last minute due to "coolness deprivation" and an image in my head of my entire seventh grade class wearing tacky poacher hats while sitting on a boat, traveling down a swampy stream. Instead, I spent the morning at my dad's office learning about cable-related hardware and visiting a gigantic server.
So goes it that two years later, I went there with a close friend of mine. Now we were fourteen, going on fifteen. We had a better understanding of what was educational and what was just numbers that we would never remember.
Alligator Adventure is just like this.
A guide spews numbers at you... "The crocodile torso is 30.8" long, has a great peripheral vision and can see about 200'! We don't really know what the average length of the crocodile's teeth is but to make sure you are satisfied, we will tell you that they average at the square root of 225 divided by 5 inches long. Anyway, so this komodo dragon here..."
This is supposed to make people feel smart. But tourists usually aren't very bright if they come to Myrtle Beach. In fact, I think coming here is there excuse to just stare at these reptiles and say, "Oooh look at da' pwetty croccy!" and take pictures of their kids leaning on cardboard cutouts of alligators named Andy.
But the inherent tackiness in all of this is refreshing because there is so much of squeezed compactly into this small area.
It's possibly one of my favorite tourist attractions because it reassures me that most of the stupidity I experience from day-to-day does not stop at the Mason-Dixon line.
For example, most intelligent beings are aware that babies from birth to about six months really do not have a developed vision yet. The world to them is probably nothing more than squiggly lines and motion. However, many parents feel that bringing their babies to this attraction will set them off on the right track.
Andy Alligator glares ominously at little Jimmy, 4 months old. Bright flashes are set off by cameras every few seconds. The boat rocks steadily. As a 4 month old, I'd be terrified.
But people still come here. And it gets funnier every year.
Anyway, some real information.
The park is said to be the world's largest reptile park and I believe it opened in around 1994 or 1995, if not a couple of years earlier.
It's open every day of the year except for Christmas and Thanksgiving and it stays open from about 9 am to 9 pm. Because a lot of area schools are close to Barefoot Landing, if you take a trip there, it would be best to go in the evening between 4 and 7 pm (when it's still daylight, yet there are not as many schoolchildren). Or if you are like me, and love overhearing stupid comments, going there anytime from 9 am to 2 pm on a weekday will guarantee you this right.
The place runs kind of like a zoo, so if you are bringing young children with you, you may want to get one of those leashes that parents drag their children around with. Tickets are also fairly expensive, so large parties aren't suggested. Adult ticks are $13, children aged 4-11 are $9, and children under 3 are free.
They have many exhibits with alligators, crocodiles, snakes, tortoises, and frogs. I think some of these are hands-on exhibits which is pretty cool, provided that you are not deathly afraid of snakes.
They also have many shows. Park employees will take questions and show you many interesting "tricks" that some of the birds they house can do.
And.. for some reason.. they also have tigers.