Ben and Jerry, brother Capybaras, were instant celebrities when they arrived in October 2020 to the Barnyard Petting Zoo at Gatorland, the Alligator Capital of the World. Close to 15 pounds when they arrived, they are now about 50 pounds each, close to a year old and ready for a larger home on Gatorland’s Flamingo Island.
“Capybara are partially aquatic mammals so this area allows for them to swim in a large pond where guests can see their natural behaviors and fun personalities,” explained Danielle Lucas, Director of Animal Care at Gatorland. “They still have another 10 to 20 pounds to grow.”
One of the largest rodents in the world, Capybara are herbivores and very social creatures, so they don’t mind sharing Flamingo Island with the flamingos, waterfowl, turtles and other critters. According to Lucas, once Ben and Jerry are fully acclimated to their new home in the near future, the plan is to offer interactive guest encounters with them on Flamingo Island. Guests will then have the opportunity to feed them and pet them, accompanied by an animal care professional. In the meantime, guests can view them from the boardwalk across from the petting zoo and watch them playfully swim and frolic around their new home.
Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park combining Old Florida charm with exciting experiences, exhibits, and entertainment. Named Best Non-Theme Park Attraction by the readers of Orlando Magazine in the Best of ORL 2020 Reader Poll and the winner of four awards in Orlando Weekly’s Best of Orlando® 2020 Reader Poll, including Best Place To Show People the Real Orlando, Best Local Big Shot Who’s Not An Elected Official – Gatorland’s Savannah Boan, Best Attraction That’s Not A Theme Park, and Best Zip Line or Ropes Course, Gatorland’s Screamin’ Gator Zip Line. Orlando Weekly Staff Pick also named Gatorland as Best New Theme Park Attraction this year for its Social Distancing Skunk Ape.
Originally opened as a roadside attraction in 1949, the park celebrated its 70th Anniversary in 2019. Today, it provides affordably-priced family fun featuring thousands of alligators and crocodiles, breeding marsh with observation tower, free-flight aviary, nature walk, petting zoo, educational wildlife programs, award-winning gift shop, Florida’s best train ride, Gator Gully Splash Park, on-site restaurant, and one-of-a-kind shows including Gator Jumparoo, Alligators-Legends of the Swamp, and Up-close Encounters. Popular adventure experiences inside the park include the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line and Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure.
For more Gatorland information, visit online at www.gatorland.com or call 800-393-JAWS.