Did I mention Cypress Gardens is covered in alligators? I don't think anyone has been chased down and eaten, but every time I have been there, I see one or two resting in the water near the path. This little guy was not even two feet long, so I didn't hesitate to get up close and personal. Growing up nearby, I've learned what size of animal it takes to chomp off an arm. This little one was more likely to take a finger off, but probably only if I waved it in front of his face. And believe me, I'm not that stupid.
The water in the swamp is maybe four foot deep at the most, which the alligators love. If you have seen them in a glass enclosure, you may have noticed they like to rest their hind legs and tail on the ground when they aren't moving.
Somehow getting close in a boat doesn't seem as scary as getting close on foot. I think that's because they are so very fast on land. An alligator can close 10 feet before you can turn around to run. Not that they would, though. They are much less aggressive than crocodiles. In fact, they really just want to eat turtles and birds, as evidenced by a complete lack of alligator attacks at Cypress Gardens.
*** UPDATE*** A woman was bitten by a sunning gator that she surprised while walking on one of the paths in March of 2010.