On a crisp fall weekend in October, our members and survivors set out to explore the famous St. Augustine Alligator Farm followed by a delicious dinner at the Salt Life restaurant! As soon as we arrived and started to gather, we all got the chance to meet our newest member Dominic, who after battling and beating cancer is now the proud father of a baby boy. Once the rest of our group arrived, we headed in to see what this place was all about.
Right away we were caught off guard by the first exhibit…white alligators? As we passed by the Albino Alligators, everyone took note of the quote on the main entrance, “Legend has it that those who gaze upon these beautiful reptiles will receive good fortune.” Sounded good to us!
As we continued exploring our members got to see several species of Alligators and Crocodilians. In fact, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is now home to all 23 currently recognized species of Crocodilians, the only facility in the world exhibiting all living specimens.
Next, we headed to the Maximo exhibit to see the afternoon feeding of the biggest crocodile at the Alligator Farm. Maximo is a saltwater crocodile that’s 15 feet 3 inches and 1,250 pounds! He responded immidiately to the trainers commands, which everyone found to be quite impressive.
After walking around most of the park we stopped near the front for one last show where a lady appeared and jumped into a fenced area with nearly 50 Alligators and Crocodiles ranging from 4 feet to 12 feet long. We all kinda freaked out about how crazy she was for doing that, but as she talked about their characteristics and told us that they all responded by name, we started to view the animals differently. One of the biggest alligators, “Fluffy”, seemed to be the most responsive, doing a few tricks and earning some treats along the way. We learned that you can easily out run an alligator because they cannot maintain quick forward momentum for a long period of time – a good fact for any Floridian to know!
When the afternoon was winding down, we headed to the Salt Life Food Shack restaurant in St. Augustine Beach. We got a rooftop table on the patio overlooking the beautiful beach scenes. The group reminisced on the day and discussed future ideas for group events. Amber told us about her recent Life Adventure – a dream vacation to the Bahamas. After a week long trip with her new fiancée, she still came to our group event without even unpacking her suitcase!
Soon came a pile of shrimp and chorizo Nachos to share over refreshing drinks while the sun set. Not much later, entrees arrived and we quickly became stuffed. I think it was safe to say everyone enjoyed their dining experience. As the night came to a close, we all said our goodbyes and talked of our next group event… the Jaguars Game vs. the Eagles on December 7th!
A huge thank you to the generous donation from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm for donating tickets so that all of our members could attend at no cost. We would also like to recognize the Salt Life Food Shack in St. Augustine Beach for helping us make a reservation and donating a gift certificate to go towards our bill. The generosity of these businesses helped us enjoy a group event within budget, which is beneficial so we can keep planning our member support group outings!