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A Real Jungle Adventure with Safari Todd

SafariTodd2Professional wild animal wrangler, Safari Todd, is Central Florida’s version of Steve Irwin.   You will find him on any given day interacting with enormous alligators, dangerous cougars, slithering snakes, and creepy arachnids at Jungle Adventures, located a half an hour from downtown Orlando. Watching him handle live exotic animals will leave you simply Awwwestruck!

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Todd didn’t envision becoming an astronaut or a doctor, like most other kids. He wanted to work with cats…BIGGGG cats. The kind with long, sharp claws and vampire fangs.  His father, Thomas Drever, was a zookeeper and educator for  Stoneham Zoo in New England, and had a huge influence on his ambition.  “He kept my brother and me in the woods hunting, fishing, and camping our whole life. He instilled the wonder and respect for nature that I still carry today,” said Todd.

Safari Todd has been working with big cats for over twenty years.  He got his first taste of working with gators and other reptiles at Jungle Adventures over 13 years ago.  “Working with the big predators gives you a chance to teach in a different way. You can teach respect, tolerance, and give a conservation message while your audience is going nowhere… you have their attention,” explains Todd.

I first saw Safari Todd wading in knee-deep water completely surrounded by large alligators during a Sunday afternoon visit with my family to Jungle Adventures. There was literally no easy escape route for him, should one of those gators had decided to enjoy an afternoon snack. One-by-one, they surprisingly swam up to him when called by name for a tender pat on the head or even a gentle kiss.  “As far as reptiles go, alligators are very smart. We have trained an alligator to respond to its name in just five training sessions. That is why it is so dangerous to feed gators in the wild,” remarks Todd.  You would think these oversized, man-eating lizards were pets! This was unlike any gator show I had ever seen.  For more than twenty minutes I witnessed one man interacting with extremely dangerous reptiles, and them responding in an amazingly tame manner.
Afterwards, we followed Safari Todd to “Wild Life Encounters Showplace & Hall,” where we received an in-depth, thirty-minute, hands-on education with live reptiles. The audience not only got to touch, but actually hold a baby alligator, a silky rat snake, a furry tarantula, and even a sizeable scorpion. Safari Todd didn’t stop there… afterwards, he headed straight over to a large cage where he unlocked the safety doors and walked into the den with a couple of 200lb cougars. For several minutes he played comfortably with these wild cats, even letting them lick his head.

We then jumped aboard the “Jungle Swamp Queen River Boat” for a personally-guided tour through a natural swamp with, guess who? Yes, Safari Todd!  He narrated the fifteen minute cruise on “Green Gator River” with over two hundred alligators, birds, and a reproduction of a fort.  The scenery resembled what early settlers would have encountered foraging through the marshes of old Florida.

Safari Todd was not the only experienced guide at the zoo. We had the privilege of seeing a replica of a Native American village where a genuine Indian, Standing Bear – Cherokee/ Lakota Sioux, demonstrated how Native Americans lived in Florida centuries ago, including how they handcrafted and used various tools from their natural environment. Every visitor in the group, young and old, were completely captivated with this thirty-minute presentation.

Jungle Adventures Nature Animal Park is home to Florida panthers, black bears, gray wolves, cougars, white-tailed deer, tropical birds, snakes, turtles, and lots of alligators.  The park offers several adventure packages as well as group discounts, including birthday parties and school fieldtrips. Whether big or small, they’ll even bring the jungle to your next group event (business meetings, school functions, celebrations). It’s sure be a wild time!

Open Daily 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Full Day Admission plus tax:

  • Adults $19.95,
  • Seniors $16.95
  • Kids (3 to 11) $12.95
  • Children under 3 are Free.


26205 State Road 50
Christmas, Florida 32709
(17 miles east of Orlando, 8 miles west of Interstate 95)

(407) 568-2885