A highway road in Florida during the daytime in clear weather. A highway road in Florida during the daytime in clear weather.

Florida’s Top 9 Must-Visit Zoos for Wildlife Enthusiasts

So, how about a vacation being spent with animals? There is no intention of hinting to you about visiting some rainforest to see animals! Okay, so jokes apart, the other way where you can visit them is a Zoo; sounds interesting, right? But where will you get the most impressive zoos to visit in America? And the answer we came up with in Florida.

1. Florida- The Sunshine State

A scenic view of Jacksonville, Florida. Buildings are lighted-up during the night time.
By sepavone/ Depositphotos. Copyright 2023.

Florida is a southeastern region-based state of the United States of America. It is bordered by Georgia in the North, the Straits of Florida and Cuba to the South, the Gulf of Mexico to the West, Bahamas and the Atlantic Ocean to the East.

This makes Florida the most unique state by having both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean on its borders. Florida is the 3rd most populous state in America. Jacksonville is Florida’s most populous city.

2. What Is the Ideal Time to Visit FL?

And here comes the interesting question: What must be the ideal time to visit Florida for vacation? If you are a wanderer, then no weather is going to stop you. But if you want to make your trip comfortable and relaxing, avoid travelling in the summer to Florida.

The term “Coolish” has been kept outside the dictionary of FL because what you only get here in summer is humid weather and notoriously hot temperatures. If you are travelling with family or solo, you might face serious issues like sunburn, sunstroke, dehydration, etc.

But the question remains the same for you about the ideal time to visit FL. So, to make that easy for you, we suggest visiting in the peak of winter, like between December and February, during which the temperatures remain quite low.

However, the best and ideal time would be either in Spring, between March and May, or in Autumn, between September and November. There will be fewer chances of humidity or rainfall. This all implies that you are going to have a great time in FL.

3. How Many Zoos Are in FL?

There is a total 26 number of Zoo in Florida at the current time. Visiting the zoo has been an excellent experience for people of all ages. Florida has the best zoos in America. But what makes it exceptional is the variety of Zoo you get to see here. Metro Zoo in Miami was one of the first ones in the country to have an escape for wild animals into wide open enclosures.

4. Who Has the Biggest Zoo in FL?

Zoo Miami is considered to be the biggest zoo in FL. It is spread over 700+ acres of land with 400 different species of wild animals. This has been home to many endangered and vulnerable species from Asia, Africa, Australia, etc.

5. What Is Lowry Park Zoo Ranked?

ZooTampa at Lowry Park ranked sixth, with Brookfield Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Brevard Zoo, and Cincinnati Zoo & Botany Garden second and Omaha Henry Doors Zoo & Aquarium third.

6. 9 Best Zoos in Florida

6.1 Brevard Zoo

8225 N Wickham Rd, Melbourne, FL

Brevard Zoo is a very unique zoo in Florida. This is because it is the smallest zoo among the other zoos in Florida, but at the same time, it is also the largest community-built zoo in the world. About 15000 volunteers gave their time and talent to build this zoo facility. This zoo is home to 165 diverse species, and more than 600 animals reside here.

This includes White Rhinos, cheetahs, jaguars, alligators, giant anteaters, giraffes, red kangaroos, siamang gibbons, crocodiles, wallabies, howler monkeys, bald eagles, river otters, etc.

Tamarin Trek at Brevard Zoo

Apart from that, this zoo has kayak tours, a treetop trek, a shallow water splash enjoyment for kids, also known as Paws On, and a Sea turtle healing center. You can even enjoy a 10-minute train tour around the Zoo. Brevard Zoo also offers you a seasonal membership.

The individual membership will cost you $45 for one adult, the Dual membership is $80 for one adult and one un-named guest, or two household-named adults, and the family membership costs around $110 for two adults under one household and their children under the age of 18 years.

6.2 Jacksonville Zoo

370 Jacksonville Zoo Train, Jacksonville, FL

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a world-class zoo in Northeast Florida. A variety of endangered species and exotic plants will surely attract many visitors. The special attraction here will be native species of Florida wildlife, including the endangered Florida panther, American Alligator, and Jaguar.

This Zoo also presents a great sight for crocodiles, white rhinos, white rhinos, lions, etc. It has also set up a critical care facility for the Manatees, a rare sight. This zoo also offers a behind-the-scenes tour with a zookeeper.

Behind-the-Zoo: Great Apes

Apart from all the wild animals and botanical gardens, what is more beautiful is the work of art all around the zoo. Some of them are permanent in the zoo home, and the rest are temporary art forms that include sculptures that show the beautiful relationship between man and animals. This makes Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens one of the top zoos in FL and the best attraction as well. Entry fee costs around $15 for adults, $13 for senior citizens, $10 for children, and it’s free for kids under the age of 2 years.

6.3 Zoo Miami

12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL

Among Florida’s zoos, Zoo Miami is considered to be the most popular zoo. This zoo is home to many rare, endangered, and vulnerable animals. There are a lot of animals present here, which you will not find anywhere else in FL. Animals are provided with enough space, which also gives each display a wide room to look out for them, and most of them are outdoors.

The facility here offers natural habitats similar to the tropical and sub-tropical climates for wild animals to live in. Animals here are given a lot of free space to roam around freely, which is surrounded by a deep moat that they do not cross. The most amazing thing you get to see here is the Painting Elephant– it is an actual elephant with a paintbrush and easel within its trunk, creating some masterpiece.

Watching lions, tigers, elephants, hippos, bears, crocodiles, and the famous Komodo Dragon is a great sight. Zoo Miami also provides animal educational programs for children. Apart from animals, this zoo has 8000+ plant species, which enhance the beauty and natural habitat for the animals. This only makes Zoo Miami a famous botanical garden as well.

6.4 Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park

1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL

Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park gives you an amazing experience while you visit here with your family. This zoo gives you some unique ways and opportunities to interact with zoo animals. More than 1500 animals stay in this zoo facility from Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, and Florida.

It takes special care of injured, endangered, and rare species of animals. It is spread over 50 acres of natural outdoor habitat. This zoo aims to educate the public about the endangered animals and plants in FL. You get to see flamingos, manatees, Florida panthers, black bears, alligators, etc.

Apart from all the wild animals, there is a lot of fun stuff to enjoy here. Zoo Tampa has a splash pad or water play areas, educational shows, delicious restaurants, and wild rides to enjoy. The annual pass for visiting this zoo costs around $65 for individuals, $ 95 for dual visitors, $130 for a family with one adult, and $ 160 for a family of two adults.

6.5 Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens

3755 W. Seminole Blvd. Sanford, FL

Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is not only a zoo but a place much more than that to visit. Established in 1975, this zoo spreads over 100 acres of protected wetlands beside Lake Monroe. This zoo has 300+ species of animals and 23 acres reserved for botanical gardens. This zoo entertains interactive experiences with animals, which include Barnyard Buddies petting zoo, rhino encounter, and giraffe feeding.

About the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Central Florida Zoo has a Herpetarium, which holds a huge collection of reptiles in the Southeast. It also has birds, other Florida animals, and the Fossa, a Madagascar predator.

Central Zoo and Botanical Gardens have zip lining, obstacle courses, night hiking, and the sunset. These are the various reasons why this zoo is quite famous among families, yet it is the adult group that gets the most attracted to it. Entry fee costs around $20 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, and $14 for children, and it’s free for kids under the age of 2 years.

6.6 Palm Beach Zoo

1301 Summit Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL

Palm Beach Zoo is considered the smallest zoo in FL. Yet more than 1000 species of animal reside in this nature-based zoological garden. Established in 1969, Palm Beach Zoo has been drawing the attention of visitors with its four sections, namely- The Islands, Florida Wetlands, Asia, and the Tropics of the Americas. All these sections have been built with a unique layout which enables the visitors to walk around easily and have amazing interactions with the animals.

Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society | On the Town, Eco-Adventures

The main attractions in Palm Beach Zoo include Chilean Flamingos, white alligators, Patagonian Cavy, etc. This zoo is located in West Palm Beach, which is very close to the Palm Beach Science Museum. Palm Beach Zoo aims for better wildlife research and global conservation of animals by rescue and rehabilitation. This Zoo also features an interesting bird show which showcases the beauty of these winged animals.

6.7 Naples Zoo

1590 Goodlette-Frank Rd, Naples, FL

Naples Zoo is also a small zoo in FL, but its up-close animal encounters and other surprises make it a special one. Established in the early 1900s, this zoo used to be a private botanical garden to rescue and rehabilitate rare plant collections. Later, in 1959, it exhibited wild animals and operated as a zoo.

Aerial View of Tiger Forest at Naples Zoo Featuring Malayan Tigers

This zoo offers a full-day delight for the visitors to showcase its tropical garden and wild places, which gives it a natural habitat layout. This take has been taken with a vision to inspire conservation efforts to preserve our remaining wild areas.

You get to have interactive experiences with the rare Indochinese Tigers and other mammals like Hyenas and Leopards. The other animals to look out for are Giant anteaters, tigers, lions, bears, Cotton-top tamarins, Patagonian cavies, etc. Animal feeding is also allowed for a particular animal like Giraffe.

6.8 Lion Country Safari

2003 Lion Country Safari Road, Loxahatchee, FL

Lion Country Safari is the only drive-through safari in FL. With this feature of the Safari, you get to see animals mere inches away from your car. This walking safari stretches over 55 acres of area, showcasing apes, a giraffe overlook, rhinos, etc. Lion Country Safari also engages in conservation programs to preserve wildlife and replenish rare species.

It also has a 33-acre theme park. The theme park features a small water park, animal theatre presentations, water slides, aviaries, a mini golf area, a nature walk, paddle boats, etc. If you want a wholesome experience, then make sure to visit this place. Entry fee costs around $27 for adults, $ 24 for senior citizens, $20 for children, and it’s free for kids under the age of 2 years.

6.9 Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

10001 N Malcolm McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a popular spot, a surprising combination of thrilling rides of a theme park and a decorated zoo. Spread over 290 acres of land; this zoo has more than 2,000 animals with delicious restaurants, shops, games, and thrilling rides.

The most attractive feature of this zoo is the real Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya, on which animals like zebra, giraffe, rhinos, etc., graze. These animals have no danger from wild animals like tigers, lions, crocodiles, hyenas, etc., as they are confined within enclosures. Guests who visit Busch Gardens Tampa Bay get to see the free flight aviary at the Bird Gardens.

7. Conclusion

So, this was all about the famous zoos in Florida. If your next vacation destination is Florida, then it is highly advisable to visit any of these zoos. It never goes wrong to spend time with nature and the animals present over there. A Visit to Florida zoos is always worth it!

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