Alligator safety a top priority at Wakulla Springs

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By: Symone Davis
June 17, 2016

WAKULLA SPRINGS, Fla. (WCTV) -- Year round, Wakulla Springs State Park brings thousands of visitors to its warm waters.

"It's just a great place to come every summer, and I come as often as I can," says park visitor Nerys Mispel.

However, the park also attracts another type of visitor -- alligators.

Park officials say many years ago they did have one incident where a visitor didn't make it home safely.

"A gentlemen left a designated swimming area after being warned not to and unfortunately, he was killed by an alligator," says Park Manager, Peter Scalco.

With this week's deadly alligator attack on a toddler at a Disney World resort, many visitors say they're now watching the waters they swim in more closely. Especially when it comes to small children.

"I've been coming here a long time so I just make sure that I keep an eye on the waters and make sure they don't go too far from me," says Mispel.

Of course, park visitors aren't the only ones keeping a watchful eye out for alligators. Wakulla Springs officials tell us they constantly ride through the park before, during, and after hours to ensure the safety of their visitors.

"If they get over interested in folks, or seem like they've lost the fear of human beings, then we have procedures in place and the cooperation of the Florida Wildlife Commission to move them out so they don't pose as a problem," says Park Manager Scalco.

Scalco says as long as guests remain aware of their surroundings and listen to park officials, they shouldn't have any problems with alligators.

"We're watching out for our folks. So we want everyone to have fun in real Florida and go home safely," says Scalco.

Scalco also says the park is only open during daylight hours to help ensure the safety of their visitors.

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