Alligators and flamingos and penguins—oh, my! So cried animal-rights activists when they heard that Orlando’s visitors bureau would be staging a promotional, artificially heated “mini-Orlando” in Times Square this Thursday morning—complete with swimsuit hotties, Mickey and Minnie, and those animals, with gators for wrestling and petting. (“There are specific, pettable alligators,” assures the bureau’s flack.) Wouldn’t the tropical creatures, brought up from Gatorland and Seaworld, be cold? “The penguins’ll be okay,” says Rich Crotty, mayor of Orange County, which includes Orlando, adding that experienced handlers will be present. But the news outraged a West Coast peta rep, who says she’ll try to get local activists to protest the faux-asis. One of them, Santos Lopez, who last week picketed Michael Kors’s fur-flaunting fashion show, also cried foul. “It’s crazy that people get entertained by animals having unnatural things done to them,” he says. So will he disrupt the stunt? Not this time. “I’ll be in Florida,” he says. “I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time.”
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