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Open wide for big gator fete



There aren't many theme parks where the featured attraction is also on the menu. But after 50 years in business, Gatorland (14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail, 855-5496) has come up with a new way to draw attention to the 4,000 resident gators: The "Greater Gator Cook-Off," which offers a taste-test of old Florida-style delicacies, noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18.

Vying for $5,000 in prizes, professional and backyard chefs will showcase killer recipes for gator nuggets, gator ribs, gator chowder, gator stew and other swampy concoctions. If you've never experienced a good gator tail, it really does taste like chicken -- rubbery chicken -- but ask the onsite connoisseurs about the distinctions.

Special guests will help out with judging. And gator-themed games and contests are planned for kids. Gatorland is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is $10.95 for adults, $5 for ages 3-12.

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