Traveling to Florida offers a host of opportunities for family fun and Florida zoos are some of the world’s most unique and spectacular.
The tropical Florida weather allows for comfortable travel year-round and its many zoos accommodate visitors by the millions every year. So when traveling to the southern United States and looking into Florida attractions, be sure to schedule a visit to one of Florida’s best zoos.
Florida Zoos and Animal Attractions
The state of Florida is most famous for its theme parks, but many travelers will be pleasantly surprised to find out Florida also houses some of the world’s most famous zoos and animal attractions. The following is a comprehensive list of Florida’s best zoos.
Jacksonville Florida Zoo
The Zoo opened in the Springfield area of Jacksonville on May 12, 1914, and began with the donation of one red deer fawn. Several animals were added later and initially “monkey island” was the zoo’s focal attraction. On July 19, 1925, the Municipal Zoo, as it was then known, relocated to its present site on the Trout River. Starting with 37.5 acres, the Zoo continued to grow, reaching the over 90 acres it encompasses today. Jacksonville Florida zoo is famous for its extravagant botanical gardens and extensively adapted animal enclosures. For admission and more information visit Jacksonville Florida Zoo.
Central Florida Zoo, Sanford
Central Florida Zoo (CFZ) is located in Sanford, just east of Orlando. One of Florida’s largest zoos, CFZ houses over 400 animals. CFZ attributes its record-breaking crowds to the park’s versatility of attractions. CFZ host not only a highly popular animal attraction, but with entrance, you can also enjoy their splash water park, a laser tag field, Zoom Air (a combination rope bridge and an elevated zip line that offers riders an extensive aerial view of the zoo and park), and much, much more. For more information, admission fees, and directions to the zoo visit the Central Florida Zoo website.
In a sparsely recognized area, located on Florida’s Space Coast, is the Brevard Zoo, in the city of Melbourne. The Brevard Zoo is relatively extravagant with well over 100 exhibits and shows, and the zoo prides itself on animal education. Another advantage to this central, east coast zoo is that the animals can live comfortably outside, year-round, and can be readily viewed in their most natural habitat. For information visit the Brevard Zoo website.
Metro Zoo in Miami houses more than 1,200 wild animals in a cageless setting that closely duplicates the animals’ natural habitats. The Metro Zoo is reminiscent of what it would be like to embark on and a wide-open plains African safari. The zoo boasts large, open-air exhibits that allow visitors to enjoy magnificent wildlife at a safe yet remarkably close vicinity.
These are Florida’s most highly rated and largest zoos, but Florida has an extensive list of other animal attractions as well. When traveling south through Florida a vacationer could conceivably visit an animal-themed attraction every day for weeks.
Traveling to Florida and Animal Attractions
Animal lovers often consider Florida the ideal vacation destination due to the state’s many animal-themed attractions. The following is a list of some fun and fascinating attractions that are slightly smaller in size and bound to be less crowded.
Top Ten Florida Animal Attractions:
- Palm Beach Zoo, Palm Beach
- Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, Naples
- Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa
- Gulf Breeze Zoo in Pensacola
- Lion Country Safari, West Palm Beach
- Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota
- Silver Springs Nature Park, Ocala
- Miami Seaquarium, Miami
- Key West Aquarium, Key West
- Jungle Adventures Nature Park, Christmas
And for those interested in specific animal rescues or wildlife sanctuaries traveling to Florida offers:
- Santa Fe Community College Teaching Zoo, Gainesville
- Butterfly World, Coconut Creek
- Everglades Animal Farm, Florida City
- St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, St. Augustine
- Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key
- Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Boca Raton
- Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota
- Big Cat Rescue, Tampa
- White Oak Conservation Society, Yulee
- Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary, Myakka City
- Peace River Wildlife Center, Punta Gorda
So whether you wish to plan your vacation entirely around visiting Florida’s animal attractions or simply add a few Florida Zoos to your travel plans, the aforementioned animal attractions are sure to please.