Why Florida's New Trend in Alligator Pool Parties Is Cold-Blooded and Misguided

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As a parent, I’m not immune to the stress that comes with planning the annual birthday party extravaganza that so many kids demand.

But when I first heard about the current trend in Florida of upgrading the apparently passé pool party with the addition of a live alligator, I was scandalized.

For real? An alligator? In your pool?!

Pool Parties Gone Wild

Yes, way! It turns out that a Tampa-based alligator attraction was having a tough economic go of it — until the outfit discovered that there was no legal impediment to hiring out wild animals as party entertainment in Florida.

Here’s how it’s done:

1. You grow a slew of alligators in your Florida Fish and Wildlife-approved facility under a legally permissive system that allows you to purchase a relatively inexpensive permit to keep and breed gators.

2. You pick out the more relaxed juveniles among the bunch, and then make sure to keep them decently socialized to human company.

3. You bind the jaws of said juvenile alligators, and then take the reptiles to any pool-themed birthday bash whose attendees are happy to pay (at $175 a pop) for the pleasure of swimming with a wild animal who's willing to kill them.

Don't think a juvenile could offer much resistance? Here’s a clip of an Ohio wrangler’s recent experience with a well-motivated “baby.”

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