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The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park this year celebrates its 125th Anniversary. The beloved Northeast Florida destination will mark its century-and-a-quarter birthday with a wide range of celebrations and special events, most notably the opening of a brand-new attraction, Oasis on the Nile.
A History of Crowd-Pleasing and Conservation
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park was founded in 1893 as a small exhibition of Florida reptiles, and it soon became a quintessential Florida attraction. In 1937 it was purchased by W.I. Drysdale and F. Charles Usina, who began acquiring additional animals from other alligator farms, zoos, and museums, and by the 1950s, The Alligator Farm had become world famous. In the 1970s, scientists from the University of Florida began research on the premises, and exhibits were improved, with additions including the theater, outdoor amphitheater, and the stunning rookery boardwalk.
Since 1989, The American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has extended accreditation to The Alligator Farm, elevating the institution to a select list of zoos, aquariums, and other zoological facilities throughout the nation recognized for the quality and care of their collections.
A new milestone in reptile keeping was achieved when Land of Crocodiles opened in 1993. The St. Augustine Alligator Farm is now the only facility in the world exhibiting living specimens of all 24 currently recognized species of crocodilian. The Alligator Farm’s appeal was widened further with the opening of Crocodile Crossing Zip Line in 2011 and Python Challenge climbing wall in 2014.
Today, The Alligator Farm functions as a modern zoo serving the public and the scientific community with educational shows and exhibits, important research, and worldwide conservation efforts.
Oasis on the Nile Opening in March
The Alligator Farm’s newest exhibit, Oasis on the Nile, is a large exhibit showcasing Nile crocodiles and amazing Egyptian artifacts. This is the largest in a series of new and improved exhibits over the past decade, and it is located between the Wading Bird Rookery and Lemurs of Madagascar, two favorite stops of zoo visitors. The attraction will feature feeding shows, bi-level crocodile viewing opportunities, and expansive exhibits of Egyptian artifacts and replicas of famous antiquities. Oasis on the Nile will be accessible via the Zoo’s pathway system and is also viewable from The Alligator Farm’s Nile River zipline course.
“We are very excited to welcome visitors to the Zoo during our 125th Anniversary celebrations and all year long,” said John Brueggen, Zoo Director. “The new Oasis on the Nile exhibit has been in the works for quite a while—the research, design, construction, and planning have been meticulously executed. Our magnificent new crocodiles—who had to be diverted to Atlanta during their journey here thanks to Hurricane Irma—are anxious to come out of quarantine and meet visitors. We can’t wait to open the exhibit.”
About The Alligator Farm
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is one of Florida’s oldest and most treasured attractions. Since 1893, it has provided visitors with exciting and educational opportunities to interact with a wide range of crocodilians, reptiles, mammals and birds. Located on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine, The Alligator Farm features natural exhibits, wildlife shows and educational demonstrations. It is the only place in the world where visitors can see every species of alligator, crocodile, caiman and gharial. In 1992, The Alligator Farm was designated a U.S. Historic District. For more information, visit www.alligatorfarm.com.