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Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo, Hot Springs

2.5
#8 of 12 in Wildlife in Arkansas
Wildlife Area Nature / Park
The Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo is a privately owned zoo located on Whittington Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas.The farm raises alligators and has done so since it was founded in 1902. The farm includes a small museum with a collection of mounted alligators, a souvenir shop and a snack bar. It includes the mummified carcass purporting to be a "Merman", similar to ones held in Ripley's Believe It or Not! museums.The main alligator pit contains a small headstone, a memorial to somebody's fox terrier that was killed by alligators on that spot in 1906.HistoryH. L. Campbell founded the farm in 1902 because he thought the Hot Springs area needed a tourist attraction in addition to the thermal baths. He sold it to D. S. Older some time before 1929. During this time it was called the "Hot Springs Gator Farm", and had up to 1500 alligators and included a small museum.The farm was sold to Jack Bridges, Sr. and his wife in 1945, and the name was changed to the Arkansas Alligator Farm. The Bridges added a gift shop, and well as other animals such as monkeys, raccoons, and logger-head turtles. Jack Bridges Jr. and his wife Sue purchased the zoo in 1965, and added more animals, as well as a petting zoo and a small museum.Babe Ruth Home runIn 1918, the Alligator Farm became part of Babe Ruth baseball lore due to its location across from Whittington Park/Ban Johnson Park. Playing in a spring training game with the Boston Red Sox on St. Patrick's Day, Ruth hit a home run that traveled an astonishing 573 feet, over Whittington Avenue and landedin the second pond at the alligator farm. At the time Ruth was a star pitcher. However, he soon became a legendary hitter, in part due to his home run that day. A prominent marker in the Alligator Farm recognizes the event.
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303 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • $9 per person admission. We were in and out in less than 30 minutes. Terrible place. Probably 70 or more alligators in two large pens with pools of dirty water, and all gavel on the ground. Very littl...  more »
  • They had a "petting zoo", the only thing you can pet is a handful of pigmy goats. Everything else is behind fencing which was only some more goats, 2 donkeys, and a single emu. The staff really didn't...  more »
  • This was our second visit, the first was about 7 years ago. I asked a few more questions this time and found out that this is NOT an actual farm. The gators are purchased from outside of Arkansas and ...  more »

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Where to stay in Hot Springs

Boasting 13 hotels on the National Register of Historic Places, Hot Springs features a number of accommodations that embrace the area's history and architecture. Set in the city's popular historic districts, these distinctive hotels have the added benefit of being within walking distance of many stores, restaurants, and bars. There's also plenty of choice for those who want to take full advantage of Hot Springs' natural surroundings. Hot Springs National Park and the Lake Hamilton area host a number of bed and breakfasts, cabins, campgrounds, and RV parks.
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