From Our Editors
Upon entering The Native Village, before you even spot a loitering tortoise or run your finger across the scales of a baby alligator, you'll catch a whiff of wood fire. That scent acts as a drifting reminder of the village's purpose, which is to give visitors a glimpse into how the Seminoles lived in the Everglades during the early 1900s.
For more than 30 years, The Native Village has educated guests with guided tours and live demonstrations of gator wrestling and snake handling. Today, you can stop by the property's Big Oak habitat, where alligators, caimans, and crocodiles live side by side and, consequently, have to share the same tube of toothpaste. At the Gator Hole, Lunge—a 13-foot, 1,000-pound bull alligator—stuns onlookers but doesn't faze the wrestlers wrangling him into submission with their bare hands. But the village is home to cute creatures, too. You can get your daily dose of awws by visiting Chain Saw the prairie dog, Ghost the fox, and a whole roster of other mammals, reptiles, fish, and fowl that lived alongside the early 20th-century Seminoles.