Lounging on the beaches of Gulf Shores present the perfect opportunity for you and your family to sit back and relax a little. Even though taking in the sun and enjoying a laid-back approach to your Gulf Coast vacation is your main objective, it wouldn't hurt to throw a bit of adventure into the mix.

How exactly can you add some excitement to your sun-filled days? One word sums it all up – alligators.

Go get your gator on
Native to this portion of Alabama, these scaly creatures have gotten a bad rap, though partially with grounded reason. True enough, these wild animals can be dangerous, and possibly the last thing you would want is to have a close encounter with a gator.

While that is all well and good, what if you were able to see an alligator up close and personal, but in a safe environment? That would surely be a novelty, and your children would be talking about that kind of experience for ages.

If you are vacationing in the Gulf Shores area, then you and your family are lucky enough to have the chance to meet some gators without putting yourselves in harm's way. A short distance away in Summerdale, Ala., you will find Alligator Alley, a farm that serves as a home to a whole slew of these creatures.

See you later at the alligator farm

Something's in the water - a whole lot of family fun!According to Alligator Alley's website, this location was founded in 2004 in an effort to provide these animals with a sanctuary. In nature, humans and alligators do not really get along, putting both species in a compromised position.

For this reason, Wes Moore, owner of Alligator Alley, created this preservation, moving animals from dangerous locations to the farm so that all parties could feel more secure. Any gator exceeding 4 feet in length and roaming an area in which there are a lot of people or property can be taken to this site. This way, these animals will have a safe home to call their own and won't pose any issues for humans.

Running through this farm is an elevated boardwalk that enables visitors to view more than 200 gators without risk to their safety or that of the animals. Even though you wouldn't let your children anywhere near these animals out in the wild, you can rest easy as they have the once in a lifetime shot at seeing alligators, but in a more agreeable environment. Not to mention, they will be able to feed these creatures, which will prove to be a memorable moment from their childhood that they will look back fondly on throughout the future. 

Among all of the creatures that your family will encounter on the farm, you are likely to be most astonished by a gator going by the name of Captain Crunch. This alligator is a behemoth, spanning 13 feet and 2 inches in length and weighing more than 800 pounds. Another fun fact: He has the strongest bite grip in the world, able to pick up anything up to 2,982 pounds with his jaws.