Arkansas Alligator Farm to Celebrate 105 Years

HOT SPRINGS, AR - Not exactly quite and cuddly, alligators still are the main attraction at the Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo.

This year, the tourist attraction is putting on a 105th anniversary celebration July 1.  The event will feature a feeding session and opportunities for children to pet a young alligator and have their pictures taken.

Owner Jack Bridges says the farm features 200 alligators and a petting zoo with deer and goats and an array of other animals, including mountain lions, white wolf, peacocks, baboons, and ring-tailed lemurs.

The gator farm was opened in 1902 by H.L. Campbell will alligators captured from Grassy Lake near Texarkana.  The farm has been in the Bridges family since 1945.

The farm sustains its own alligator population.  Bridges and his staff keep the count at 200 animals because of the expense of feeding them 400 pounds of chicken every week.

Over the years, Bridges says he has been bitten five times.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)