VIDEO: 'Stompin' Gator' alligators move into new attraction

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 6:26 PM EST

Seventy gators have a new home within Gatorland.

We were there Tuesday as fearless gator wranglers transported the five remaining alligators into a 2-acre habitat. The pond is a big part of the new Stompin' Gator Off-Road Adventure, which will have a soft opening on Wednesday.

"We're going to work with them and train them, so when there's buggies coming along, you move out of the way," said Mark McHugh, Gatorland president and CEO. "You know, that's kind of the climax of the ride. Of course, you've got to go through alligators at Gatorland."

As far as getting the gators (safely!) into their new pond, Gatorland staff tapes the gators' mouths closed and covers their eyes with black tape. That's to keep them as calm as possible during the transition. A seasoned "wrangler" then carries one of the big guys to the shore, straddles it to hold it down and removes the tape. The wrangler then jumps back quite quickly, standing behind the gator, which eventually splashes into the water. (Check out our VIDEO below -- at 2:15, one of the gators scared the daylights out of us when it thought our camera was threatening).

We were one of the first to experience the new buggy ride experience. With original storytelling, authentic and meticulously-detailed props and actors who obviously love their jobs, it's a 15-minute uniquely Florida experience.

Guests board one of three monster-truck-like buggies from the new Gator Joe's Adventure Outpost. The building serves as the park's home base of reserving and purchasing all separately-ticketed park adventures, including the Stompin' Gator Off-Road Adventure, Screamin' Gator Zip Line, Adventure Hour, Gator Night Shine and Trainer For A Day.

The grand opening for Stompin' Gator is Dec. 13.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: How to move a gator to a new attraction