So­cial Dis­tanc­ing Skunk Ape pro­motes safety

Orlando Sentinel - - Local & State - By Kathleen Christians­en Want to reach out? Email me at kchris­tiansen@ or­lan­dosen­tinel.com. Find more fun things on In­sta­gram @fun.things.or­lando and Face­book @fun.things.or­lando.

As Cen­tral Florida at­trac­tions be­gin to re­open af­ter quar­an­tine, hand san­i­tiz­ing sta­tions are pop­ping up, em­ploy­ees don face masks and in­for­ma­tive sig­nage about stay­ing safe is in place. But Ga­tor­land has taken safety to the next level.

One of the wildlife park’s clas­sic char­ac­ters got a makeover to be­come the So­cial Dis­tanc­ing Skunk Ape who en­sures the well­be­ing of park guests.

“The Florida Cryp­tid knows all about keep­ing away from oth­ers and is per­fect for the job,” Ga­tor­land said in a press re­lease. “He tends to be more elu­sive than his cousin, Big­foot … ”

You may re­mem­ber Skunk Ape from his in­park ap­pear­ances as well as his stints on Ga­tor­land’s YouTube show “Ga­tor­land Vlogs” and Face­book morn­ing show “School of Croc.”

“We

have

kids who watch School of Croc call­ing Skunk Ape their hero,” said Mark McHugh, Ga­tor­land’s pres­i­dent and CEO, in the press re­lease. “Our su­per fans and park guests will learn a lot from him, for sure.”

Skunk Ape en­cour­ages guests to stay at least 6 feet apart.

“Man, he’s in­sis­tent that you stay dis­tant,” said Savannah Boan, Ga­tor­land’s an­i­mal ed­u­ca­tion am­bas­sador and crocodil­ian en­rich­ment co­or­di­na­tor, in a YouTube video pro­mot­ing the new Skunk Ape.

He’s also mak­ing sure hands are clean, which Bubba and Cooter learn the hard way when they don’t prop­erly san­i­tize or wash their hands and face the Skunk Ape’s wrath.

“It’s al­ways wise to san­i­tize,” Boan said in the video. “He won’t be mean if your hands are clean.”

And you can take a piece of the So­cial Dis­tanc­ing Skunk Ape home with you, as Ga­tor­land is sell­ing Skunk Ape shirts.

Ga­tor­land is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily at 14501 S. Orange Blos­som Trail in Or­lando.

Tick­ets are $29.99 for ages 13 and older, $19.99 for ages 3-12, $24.99 for ages 55 and older and free for chil­dren ages 2 and younger (save $3 off adult and child ad­mis­sion when you pur­chase on­line). For more in­for­ma­tion, go to ga­tor­land.com or call 800-393-JAWS.

GA­TOR­LAND/COUR­TESY PHOTO

Ga­tor­land is pro­mot­ing safety within the park with the So­cial Dis­tanc­ing Skunk Ape.

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