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Arkansas Alligator Farm - Hot Springs, AR

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Arkansas Alligator Farm - Hot Springs, AR

It's feeding time! More photos

Amanda Galiano

What:

Arkansas Alligator Farm has been around since 1902, and has been owned by the same family since 1945. It's basically a roadside zoo with hundreds of alligators of all shapes and sizes. In the Spring and Summer, they do "Crocodile Hunter" style alligator feedings, with a handler jumping around the alligators exhibit with raw chicken, avoiding getting bitten (most of the time). Kids have the opportunity to touch a real live alligator after most shows.

Besides alligators, the attraction has a few other animals and a museum, of sorts.

Where:

The Alligator Farm is a little ways off Central Avenue, but not hard to find. 847 Whittington Avenue, Hot Springs, AR (Google Map)

Contact / Hours:

501-623-6172

They claim to be open year round, but there's no reason to visit when the temperatures are cool. Reptiles are sluggish and don't eat when it's cool.

Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Alligator feedings are Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at noon during the warmer months of the year. That's the time to go, but it can get crowded when the tourist season is high. Try to find a spot early. They feed the larger alligators off the dock, so keep that in mind.

Cost:

Adult admission is $6.50
Children 12 and 1nder is $5.50
Children 2 and under are free

They have group rates. Call for more information.

Other Animals:

I don't appreciate the other animals as much as the alligators, but the farm does have a small petting zoo with some fallow deer, emu etc. and a small "zoo" with some primates and a cougar.

This is a roadside zoo, and any of the negative reviews I have been about the "small barren cages" of the primates, not the condition or care of the alligator stars. That being said, the animals appear well cared for (08/2010), the facility is USDA licensed and the staff is friendly, seem caring and open to questions.

Cryptozoology?:

They also have a few taxidermy animals in a separate "museum" type area, close to the exit. I found this area creepy and smelly as a kid (it's the alligator's winter holding, so that's understandable). The right type of kid might enjoy it.

They also have the famous Arkansas merman in there. More about him in the next section.

Roadside Weirdness:

This place (and Hot Springs) is full of roadside weirdness. That's one of the reasons I love it.

The merman (see him in the photo gallery) is housed in a small, winter holding area with some other taxidermy animals. Mermen have a long, hoaxy history, starting with PT Barnum.

A terrier headstone sits in one of the alligator enclosures that claims a pet was eaten in 1906 (see the gallery).

There are a few great signs here, including one that says the alligators in the enclosure are best suited for purses and belts (see the gallery).

You won't find any of that at the Little Rock Zoo!

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