Gators and Friends Exotic Animal Petting Zoo and Adventure Park was already a unique place before Sept. 30, 2017. Not only could you observe alligators being fed, hold a baby alligator and hang out with all sorts of exotic animals ranging from camels to capybaras at Gators & Friends, you could also ride a zipline through an alligator-filled swamp. On Saturday, Sept. 30, Gator Raceway opened its doors and visitors to the park can now ride high-speed go-karts that travel at speeds up to 35 MPH around a twisty, turny track that makes for an intense adrenaline rush. Like the Gator Raceway Facebook page.
Adrenaline rush? From driving a go-kart? If you’re expecting the usual puttering, low-octane go-kart experience – this is not that. These are go-karts with an emphasis on the word go. I rode along in a two-seater kart and shot footage of the experience recently and…it was nuts. That two-seater cart can also serve as a way for younger kids to ride along with an adult, though it is a wild ride.
“The rest of the park was sort of for younger kids,” Gators & Friends owner Jim Willett told me. “This is a high-speed go-kart track with go-karts that go really fast, so it’s really designed for patrons who are 13 or 14 or older.”
Racing ranges from $14 to $20 and gets cheaper if you become a track member (which costs $6) or purchase multiple races at once. My first race lasted about 10 minutes, but there’s also a safety training session and a sign-in process, so I’d guess that the entire experience lasted about 35-45 minutes. It was an absolute blast. If you’re waiting in line while a group ahead of you races, there’s also a new arcade on the property with some of the coolest video games and pinball machines that I’ve seen in town, with themes like The Walking Dead and Alien: Covenant. There’s a two-seater Super Mario Kart game that’s kind of great.
If you love this kind of attraction, download the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s Family Adventure Guide.