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Dive Next to Gators and Live to Tell the Tale in Planned Reptile Lagoon

Jenny Sparks, Loveland Reporter-Herald

A Colorado reptile park owner hopes to make it possible for scuba divers to dive with gators in the state.

Jay Young, owner of Colorado Gators Reptile Park in the San Luis Valley, is in the process of building a 30-foot-deep, 200-foot-wide, geothermal spring-fed lagoon.

The goal? Create a spot in the state for scuba divers with quality diving water.

“When it’s done I won’t have to go to Cozumel to scuba,” says Young. “For all the divers we have in Colorado, there’s really no place to go.” Colorado is among the top in the nation for divers per capita.

Young plans to line the lagoon with concrete and rocks to create caves and grottoes for both divers and fish. Where do the gators come in? Young has plans to build an alligator habitat next to the lagoon. Divers would be separated from the gators by a Plexiglass barrier.

The reptile park is home to hundreds of alligators, plus pythons, tortoises, snapping turtles, iguanas and exotic fish.

Jason Blevins, The Denver Post
Jason Blevins, The Denver Post

Young started digging out the lagoon four years ago. He hopes it will be open to divers in July.

If the lagoon is a success, Young says he will build facilities and possibly put up an inflatable dome to keep the lagoon warm in the winter.

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Dive Next to Gators and Live to Tell the Tale in Planned Reptile Lagoon