Guests at North Beach Plantation might be horrified to learn that there are hundreds of alligators, snakes and other rare reptiles within a short distance of the exclusive North Myrtle Beach resort.
Fear not; they are confined to the 15-acre property at Alligator Adventure, just across Highway 17 at Barefoot Landing. And while you don't have to worry about encountering one of the man-eating crocodiles in the wild, Alligator Adventure gives visitors the next best thing: the chance to get up close and personal with the ancient creatures.
Featuring various species of alligators, crocodiles, venomous snakes, and other rare reptiles, Alligator Adventure is most popular for the animals that take top billing on the marquee – gators, and lots of them. From the popular American alligator to the endangered Albino alligator, this wildlife refuge is literally wall to wall with gators.
Living side by side with the native American gators are several species of crocodiles from all over the world, including the dangerous and deadly saltwater crocs. In fact, the main attraction is Utan, a massive 20-foot croc that emerges from the depths to amaze onlookers as his giant head breaks the water's surface. Trained handlers coax him to the banks for feeding time as he devours whole chickens like they are nuggets.
Feeding-time shows are held on a regular basis so visitors are sure to get a good look at the gators and crocs doing what they do best – eating. Gator-handling shows and educational exhibits are also on the schedule so guests can take some great photos of the beasts. Selfies, however, are not recommended unless you're looking to lose an ear.
Alligator Adventure is also home a large collection of snakes and other reptiles. The Snake House displays deadly venomous snakes from all over the planet in aquariums so visitors can clearly see the snakes in action without being on the receiving end of their bites. See the world's deadliest snakes closer than you would ever hope to see them in the wild.
Alligator Adventure considers itself the “Reptile Capital of the World,” and they have the collection to back it up. See huge boas and pythons, rattlesnakes and cobras, and some of South Carolina's scariest snakes, copperheads and cottonmouths. There are also harmless and beautifully colored serpents on display, like Banana Boas and Burmese Pythons.
Alligator Adventure is also home to a wide range of other reptiles, such as sea turtles, toads, and other rare swamp-dwellers. Also featured are a vast array of birds, cats and lower primates, such as sloths and lemurs. The Aviary displays eagles, hawks, owls and other birds of prey, and Siamese tigers, bobcats and lynx are housed in the feline section.
Alligator Adventure is an approved sanctuary for wild animals and often receives rescues that add to the diversity of the nature park. Kangaroos, warthogs, otters, and squirrel monkeys are among the many full- and part-time residents, so don’t be surprised to see something totally off the charts depending upon when you attend. Feeding shows are scaled back in the offseason when many of the cold-blooded creatures call it quits in the winter.
Alligator Adventure is located on Highway 17 South in North Myrtle Beach next door to the House of Blues. Tickets range from $14.99 for kids to $19.99 for adults, and the cost of admission includes a second day for free if it is within one week of the initial visit. The park is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 843-361-0789 or visit the website at www.alligatoradventure.com.