I mentioned in my other Sand Dunes post that we went to the Alligator Farm located about 15 minutes away. The history of this place revolves around the hot springs that are present and capable of supporting this sort of gator-friendly environment. They have over 300 gators there and lots of rescued reptiles that live happy lives.
One of the most hysterical things we learned is that earlier on the day we visited, the farm had run out of bananas. Apparently, the turtles were rioting in anger since they didn’t have any bananas to eat. It was hysterical – who knew little turtles had such big attitudes. The running joke for the rest of our visit was – ‘DO YOU HAVE AN UPDATE ON THE BANANAS?’ It was a great place and we got to see a lot of very amazing reptiles in the San Luis Valley!
Here is the full history from Colorado Gator Farm:
Erwin and Lynne Young moved from Post, Texas to Alamosa, Colorado in September, 1974 with their four children, Mark, Mike, Sherri, and Jay. Erwin learned of the geothermal water resources available in the Valley and wanted to grow Tilapia, an African perch that requires warm water and is very good to eat.
In 1977 they purchased the 80 acre farm that is now Colorado Gators Reptile Park. It wasn’t until 1987 that they purchased 100 baby alligators to dispose of dead fish and the remains of filleted fish.
Those baby gators grew quickly in the warm geothermal water (87° F) and the locals wanted to see them, so we opened to the public in 1990. Soon we were in the spotlight of many media programs and articles. Individuals with overgrown alligators and other reptiles such as large pythons, tortoises, iguanas, and more started dropping them off with us.
We have become a sanctuary for unwanted exotic pets and we care for them as best we can. We display them for the public to understand the dangers in owning these pets and we take them to schools for educational programs.