You’ll be able to see the alligators starting on August 2nd.
North America’s largest reptile the American Alligator, which can grow to lengths exceeding 13 feet and weigh over 500 lbs, will soon be seen slithering around Maymont. This is not an invasion from the canal or cast off pets raising from the sewers. Instead this is a much more benign and educational effort by the Maymont Nature Center to teach folks about this impressive creature.
Richmond won’t be getting any alligator behemoths instead the new residents of the park will come in at anywhere from 8 inches to 30 inches long and will be staying at Maymont for a year. In that year’s time the critters will grow up to 12 inches.
“One of our goals is to help guests understand issues that might impact Virginia ecosystems,” said Buz Bireline, Maymont Director of Habitats and the Nature Center. “American alligators are fascinating creatures, and their lives are greatly impacted by temperature. Since alligators live so close to the Commonwealth’s southern border, this exhibition will give guests opportunities to consider how climate change could expand the range of the alligator into Virginia.”
The public premier for the alligators at Maymont will be Saturday, August 2 from 10am to 5pm. In addition to a first peek at the new American alligator exhibit, guests can enjoy close encounters with the smallest, educational alligators throughout the day as well as fish and turtle feeding demonstrations at 12pm and otter training at 2:30pm. Guests can also see lined seahorses, Hippocampus erectus, a species native to the Chesapeake Bay that is also new to the Nature Center animal family. Admission to the Nature Center is $3 for adults and youth ages 13 and older; $2 for children ages 4 to 12 and seniors ages 60 and older. Admission is free for Maymont members.
We would be remiss if we mentioned alligators and Richmond if we didn’t give a nod to the forerunner of Alligator mississippiensis southern hospitality, The Jefferson Hotel. Shortly after renovations in 1907 due to a fire, alligators made a home of in the fountain. The alligators were donations from city residents and visitors. The last alligator, named Old Pompey, remained at The Jefferson until he died in 1948. [via Jefferson Hotel]
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any old photos of the Jefferson Hotel alligators as anyone seen one? Lots of pictures of the brass alligator sculpture that resides in the lobby but nothing on the original alligators.
Image: Maymont Press Release