It’s hard to get kids to sit still for an educational lesson, but when the subject is alligators and they’re right at the front of the classroom, parents find their children wide-eyed and rapt with attention. These rare interactions are business as usual at Gator Country, just 20 minutes southwest of downtown Beaumont, where more than 300 alligators sprawl across the 15-acre property.
At 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day, owners Gary and Jana Saurage and their team bring out gators as well as crocodiles, snakes, turtles and other reptiles, and they use the opportunity to teach visitors about wildlife conservation and clear up misconceptions about these oft-misunderstood creatures. Their business also involves rescuing nuisance gators that have made themselves at home in unwanted areas, such as backyard swimming pools, across the region. Much of their visitor traffic comes from people who have seen the team in action on CMT’s “Gator 911” series as well as on A&E, Bravo, Animal Planet and Fox 4.
Prior to Gary buying the property, a businessman had used it as an alligator farm from roughly 1950 to 1998. He abandoned hundreds of alligators there when he closed up shop, and when Gary bought the land in 2005, only two were left. One, an 83-year-old nicknamed Big Al, still lives onsite in a private pond. At 13’4”, he’s certified by Texas Parks & Wildlife to be the largest alligator in captivity in Texas, and he’s undoubtedly the favorite son of this thriving animal rescue attraction.
Aside from learning about the animals during the shows, guests can hold and swim with baby gators, feed the gators and watch the staff do the same, witness gators in 10 ponds across the property, play on the onsite playground, and check out raccoons, snakes and other animals enclosed in and around the visitors’ center. The attraction also hosts birthday parties and offers offsite swamp tours.
21159 FM 365, Beaumont, TX 77705
10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Daily
Adults $15, Kids (ages 2-12) $12, Seniors (65+) $12. Group rates available.