Gatorland’s ‘Jaws’ Turns 50

Gatorland entrance celebrates 50 wide open years.

Open wide!

An iconic Gatorland feature celebrated 50 years recently. Located at the entrance to the park, the wide open ‘gator mouth has welcomed guests since 1962 when it was installed at the entrance to the gift shop.

The ‘gator mouth survived a fire at the gift shop In November 2006, but when it was rebuilt its entrance was better positioned to accommodate the crowds wanting to take photographs.

Dewayne Bevil of Orlando Sentinel’s Theme Park Rangers details the trademark.

The landmark was built by by Frank Godwin, who eventually became general manager and CEO, along with a welder and plasterers using I-beams and concrete. Godwin had sketched out his ideas and the end result is 15 feet tall with giant nostrils and menacing teeth.

Gatorland was opened in 1949 and owns the federal trademark for the mouth. It’s taken legal action against businesses that have tried to copy the idea.






Leave a Reply