Ok this is a bit of a stretch I’ll admit but when I was trying to figure out something to write about for this holiday season I was kind of drawing a blank. I did find a new online penny vendor with some new holiday designs but that’s what I usually do, and this year I wanted it to be a bit different. As I scoured the internet I was trying to see if there was a local Christmas festival or anything that may have a pressed penny design but kept coming up empty. However eventually I did notice something on a map of central Florida during these searches, and found a little town called Christmas.
Yes you read that right, Christmas Florida is an actual place and it was only about an hour away from our house. Plus the icing on top was that there was a roadside attraction in this town that had a penny machine. The pieces were all falling into place. Pennies, Christmas, and Alligators…sure why not.
Jungle Adventures is where we were headed. It was a nice Florida “winter” day in the high sixties (sorry if you are from up north), and the as a nice change of pace from the usual Orlando traffic, there were not many cars on the road in this part of town.
As we turned off the highway we were greeted by Swampy the World’s largest Gator. This is just the design of the main building that includes the gift shop and admission desk. Quite the roadside attraction. We got parked, headed inside to buy our tickets to the park and started our Adventure.
After leaving the main building we came to the Golden Gator Bridge that takes you over the water to the Wild Animal Island. The green stuff on top of the water is called Duckweed that is a flowering aquatic plant that floats on still or slow-moving wetlands. While walking over the bridge we could see quite a few gators just floating along very slowly. Then on the other side we came face with some really big ones.
As you can see from the above picture the walkway allows you to get right up close to the fence but there are signs everywhere stating not to put your fingers in the case. Seemed like good advice.
The fence is only 5 feet or so high, and I was able to reach over for some pictures. The big guys didn’t flinch at all. I was worried they may move around a bit as we got closer but they must be used to all the attention. There is staff all around to answer any questions and you can also buy various bags of food in the gift shop for feeding all the different animals.
There were a couple Florida Panthers here as well, but just like our cats at home they were enjoying a nap which I’m sure is how they spend most of their day.
There is an elevated nature walk along this boardwalk. Thankfully it’s all screened in at the bottom to keep you safe. This literally takes you right through the swamp.
There were a large amount of vultures here when we visited. I’m sure they are there for the scape of food left behind, but they can be a little intimating as they are pretty big when you get close to them.
I saw this little guy resting on a branch just above the water and thought he looked pretty comfortable. It was a little surprising that all the gators weren’t more active, and I think I maybe saw one moving slightly but that was about it. A few times my daughter even asked if they were real, which I assured her they were.
After feeding some of the animals, and having a nice afternoon visit we headed back into the main building. Inside the gift shop area was where the penny press machine was located.
It was a nice old school three design electric model. The machine worked great and the pennies pressed very nicely.
The set of pennies included the Jungle Adventures Logo, a Gator and a Florida Panther. This place isn’t huge, but does have a nice big collection of animals to visit with and learn about. We have visited Gatorland which I believe has more gators, but at Jungle Adventure I felt like we were able to get much closer to the gators which may or may not have been a good thing. They do offer a boat tour that gets you even closer to some of the gators, but it unfortunately was not operating during our visit due to inclement weather.
This was a classic Florida attraction, with some fun things to do and there was practically no one there. I think we only saw 2 or 3 other families there which is a nice change from the more popular theme parks.
As I said at the beginning this was a bit of a stretch for a Christmas post but hope you enjoyed it. Have a great Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. Stay safe and remember 2019 is just around the corner. So many more pennies still to find and we have lots of things planned for next year.