Get off the Beaten Path in Baldwin County, Alabama: Alligator Alley

BY ALLISON MARLOW
Managing Editor
allisonm@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 1/23/23

Fear not. The 600 alligators crawling, swimming and sometimes hissing just under your feet can go up to 18 months without food.

It’s rare. But possible.

That’s one of the unusual …

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Get off the Beaten Path in Baldwin County, Alabama: Alligator Alley

Posted

Fear not. The 600 alligators crawling, swimming and sometimes hissing just under your feet can go up to 18 months without food.

It’s rare. But possible.

That’s one of the unusual facts you will learn as you peruse the elevated boardwalk that crosses 20 acres of natural cypress swamp-turned-preserve for these prehis­toric looking creatures.

Wes Moore opened the attraction in 2004 on land that had been in his family for nearly 75 years. At least one alligator may have lived there for nearly as long, too.

As the story goes, the gator, named Old Joe, lived in a swamp on the family land. Every day, Moore’s grandfather would feed him. One afternoon when he arrived without fresh meat on hand, the alligator chased him down.

The gator never caught his grand­father, though the story quickly became local legend. Eventually, Moore turned the legacy of that tale into a must-see destination for Baldwin County.

Now, visitors can hold young gators that seem cute compared to the likes of the park’s most famous resident, the more-than-800-pound

Captain Crunch who holds the re­cord for the strongest recorded bite force of a male American alligator.

Besides the alligators, visitors can also take in turtles, ospreys, owls and bull frogs as they bask in the sun. On certain days, crowds can watch as staff members hand-feed the largest gators on the property.

And while visitors can cuddle with the youngest of the congregation, the official name for a group of alli­gators, visitors are prohibited from helping to feed the reptilian giants.

After all, while turtles make up the bulk of an alligator’s diet, they are opportunistic eaters.

Current company notwithstanding, of course.

HOW TO GET THERE

To find Alligator Alley from the beach, take State Road 59 north toward Summerdale. Turn right on Couch Plant Road in Summerdale. Follow the road as it curves to the left, and follow the signs to Alligator Alley. Couch Plant Road will dead end at Alligator Alley.

Editor's note: This article originally published in Beachin', a lifestyle magazine from Gulf Coast Media that explores people, places and things across Baldwin County and along the Alabama Gulf Coast. To read the magazine in full, find free copies in racks around Baldwin County, at our office in Foley, in our bi-weekly newsletter at www.gulfcoastmedia.com/newsletter or here.

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