Florida’s oldest zoo and a grandaddy of Florida tourism is one of the primary attractions in St. Augustine. It’s been able to stay current and popular for well over 120 years.
Created in 1893, it’s not only the oldest zoo in Florida, but one of the oldest in the US. It’s also one of the few zoos to be designated a US Historic District. In its many years of operation, it has added different animals, most notably the ostrich which shared the farm with gators for around 20 years. At times they even changed the name of zoo to the St. Augustine Ostrich and Alligator Farm.
Currently billed as having every species of crocodilian (crocodiles, alligators, gharials, etc.), the zoo specializes in reptiles. Their collection includes turtles and snakes and even many birds (and no, birds are not reptiles).
The famous Alligator Farm sits where it’s been since the 1920s – on Anastasia Island, not far from St. Augustine’s Bridge of Lions and within view of the St. Augustine Lighthouse – two of the venerable city’s other famous attractions.
Their location on the island means there’s plenty of parking and it’s free (trust me, that’s refreshing in St. Augustine). The staff does a good job of answering questions and there’s a schedule of demonstrations each day, which is likely to be the only time you’ll see the alligators move.
The park is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
It’s certainly a great way to spend a few hours. There are several other alligator-centric attractions in Florida, many of them fun entertainment with their own strengths, but the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is special. There are only a few attractions in Florida that have been operating since the first Florida tourism boom way back in the 19th century.
See the following brochures for the Alligator Farm’s changes over the years