Reptile-loving Texas couple takes over Natchitoches Alligator Park with plans to add new attractions
Gary and Shannon Saurage operate two other alligator parks in Texas
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - The Natchitoches Alligator Park will live on for future generations as a Central Louisiana tradition. In May longtime owners Terry and Deborah Rogers announced they were retiring and putting the park up for sale. Shortly after, Gary and Shannon Saurage purchased the park.
The Saurages own and operate Gator Country Texas parks in Beaumont and South Padre Island, but this will be their first park in Louisiana. “Now we’re in real gator country. This is Louisiana,” says Gary. “We said we want this park. We want to continue the legacy,” adds Shannon.
You may recognize them from their time spent on numerous cable shows, their ‘Gator Country TX’ Youtube channel, or from their traveling reptile show. “We’ve been on national TV a long time so that kind of helped our park grow,” says Gary.
Gary, who was born and raised in West Monroe, is thrilled to bring the couple’s brand to the bayou state. “I got to tell you, I’m not far from there now, so it feels really good coming back to Louisiana.”
Right now the duo is hard at work on renovations, with plans to keep much of the tradition of the park, while adding their own spin. When the park reopens it will feature interactive shows, a gator wading pool for kids, and a snake exhibit. “Even though there were not people and children when I came through the park, I could still see them already laughing and smiling and holding these reptiles and finding a love or respect for them,” says Shannon.
The Saurages - who have made a name for themselves not only entertaining but by capturing and rescuing nuisance gators and reptiles - say that educating people about the American Alligator is a top priority when the park reopens. “Nothing, nothing does it like educating a child on the American Alligator. That, to me, is the biggest thrill in this business,” adds Gary.
The new name of the park is ‘Gator Country Louisiana Natchitoches Alligator Park’ and it’s set to open on April 1, 2021. In January, the Saurages will begin accepting applications for their student intern program.
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