70 years of jaw-snapping thrills: These vintage photos of Gatorland show how far the park has come


Opened in 1949, Gatorland is a staple in the Central Florida community. It was there before Disney and Sea World, and it's here to stay. This reptile haven was founded 70 years ago between Orlando and Kissimmee by Owen Godwin, a "big game hunter, world traveler, author and lecturer," according to the State Library & Archives of Florida. Soon, it was known as the "alligator capital of the world," with an iconic gator mouth entrance that could lure in curious visitors driving on U.S. Highway 441. The park's cold-blooded animals even made a cameo appearance in 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Check out these pictures from the State Library & Archives of Florida of the original Gatorland in all its glory.

| Photos by State Library & Archives of Florida